Can running actually slow ageing?

Tuesday 12th August, 2008

Elderly exerciseAccording to US researchers it can! Their studies found that joggers in their later years were half as likely to die prematurely from conditions such as cancer than people who don’t run.

The team at Stanford University Medical Centre also found elderly joggers led a healthier life and suffered with fewer disabilities.

500 older runners, who were all in their 50s at the beginning of the study, were checked for over 20 years against a similar group of non-runners. After 19 years, 34% of non-runners had died against 15% of those who ran.

Even as both groups entered their nineties, the health gap between runners and non-runners continued to widen. Heart rates were slower, artery related deaths were less and there were fewer early deaths from other causes including cancer, infection and neurological disease. Scientists has feared that the runners would be more likely to require knee replacements or suffer with osteoarthritis but there was no evidence of this.

Professor James Fries, lead author of the study at the University of California, said:

“The study has a very pro-exercise message. If you had to pick one thing to make people healthier as they age, it would be aerobic exercise.



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