It is no secret that regular physical exercise and a healthy diet can boost longevity in every person. People often take to complicated gym routines and fancy Tabata and Pilates routines. But sometimes, basic can work best. While walking 10,000 steps a day has already been glorified as a fitness target one could set, did you know running just 75 minutes a week may boost longevity by 12 years? A new study has established a link between the benefits of running to live longer.
Can running increase longevity?
The study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health looked into the cellular health benefits of running. Specific research was done to look at telemeters, and the structures at the end of chromosomes. A general rule says that the longer and more numerous chromosomes are, the better will be your cellular health. However, as we age, the length and the number of our telomeres surge naturally, but exercise (running) can work its way into slowing the decline.
This recent study claims that 75 minutes of running or jogging per week in comparison to not running at all can result in a “biological age difference of approximately 12 years in favour of runners”. The authors of the study conducted the study on over 4,400 subjects, performing a comparison on those who ran at least 75 minutes a week with those who ran less than 10 minutes a week.
The study didn’t look into actual morality, just cellular ageing. However, they highlighted that reduced telomere length has a direct correlation with increased mortality and lower risk of chronic diseases.
What are benefits of running for longevity
Health shots got in touch with Professor Dr Ali Irani, a physiotherapy and sports medicine specialist, to understand the other benefits of running for increased lifespan.
1. Weight management
Running can burn calories, and that makes it an effective ally in maintaining a healthy weight. “Since obesity is a known risk factor for chronic diseases, running plays a pivotal role in their prevention. Managing weight through running not only promotes longevity but also overall well-being,” says the expert.
2. Maintaining insulin sensitivity
Maintaining insulin sensitivity is crucial for preventing and managing diabetes, especially as we age. Running enhances insulin sensitivity, allowing the body to regulate blood sugar levels more effectively. By promoting robust glucose metabolism, running acts as a protective shield against diabetes, further enhancing your prospects for a longer life.
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3. Mental well-being
Mental well-being is often underestimated in the pursuit of longevity. Running can reduce stress, alleviate anxiety, and combat depression. The psychological benefits of running are closely linked to overall well-being and are instrumental in the quest for a longer and more fulfilling life.
4. Healthy bones
As per Dr Ali Irani, “Healthy bones are vital for an active and fulfilling life, especially as we age. Weight-bearing exercises like running help maintain bone density, reducing the risk of osteoporosis and fractures. Strong bones are essential for supporting an active lifestyle in later years”.
5. A robust immune system
A strong immune system is another gift from running. Regular running can enhance the immune system’s function, bolstering your guard against infections and diseases. This added layer of protection plays a significant role in extending your lifespan.
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6. Cognitive benefits
Running may offer cognitive benefits. Some studies suggest that running positively influences cognitive function, potentially reducing the risk of neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s disease. This cognitive sharpness and agility can ensure a vibrant life well into your senior years”.
Recent scientific findings underscore the profound benefits of running for promoting a longer and healthier life. Whether you’re a seasoned runner or considering taking your first steps, running has the potential to unlock not just longevity but a life filled with well-being.