Runners of the world, rejoice! A new study says that spending just one hour running can add seven hours to your lifespan. This means marathoners will probably live forever, and it just gives the rest of us one more reason to lace up those shoes and hit the treadmill.
The study was published last month in Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases, and looks at a number of “key lifestyle factor[s] for longevity.” Running is high on this list, hence the adding-seven-hours-to-your-life statistic.
And a key point about the study: It wasn’t conducted by lifelong running enthusiasts (because you know those types are biased). In fact, two of the study authors, Iowa State’s Duck-chul Lee and New Orleans cardiologist Carl Lavie, have published previous papers that warn against the dangers of too much running.
According to the study, runners have a 25 to 4o percent reduced risk of premature mortality, and live approximately three years longer than non-runners. And another big bonus? This extended lifespan still applies, even if you only just started running. You don’t have to have been a college track star to reap the benefits. If that’s not a great reason to take up a Couch to 5K program, we don’t know what is!
Now to be fair, if you’re pounding the pavement in sneakers that are five years old without any knowledge of form or physicality, you might do more harm than good. And the marginal benefit of running for longer does decrease as your mileage increases. So don’t think that just because you ran 100 miles this week you’re going to live to be 300 years old.
But this study is a good opportunity to start experimenting with jogging a few miles a week. You might find a new hobby you enjoy (talk about alone time!) and on top of that, a few extra years on your lifespan isn’t such a bad tradeoff for a workout.