If working out isn’t your thing or you simply can’t make enough time for it, don’t worry! Jogging regularly up to just one to two and half hours a week can add between five to six years to your lifespan, according to a Danish Study released in April of this year.
And if you hate sweating, that’s okay, because the study also revealed jogging at a slow and steady pace is more beneficial to your health than jogging at intense speeds. This is because experts say it’s less work for the body and doesn’t wear it down as fast.
It may seem like less work, but the research shows that repetitiveness in exercise is key.
Researchers observed about 20,000 Danish men and women ages 20 to 93 since the 1970s, and the participants of the Copenhagen City Heart study had been consistently jogging for an average of 10 years. Compared to non-joggers, it is estimated that the age of death among male and female joggers were reduced by 44 percent.
“Repetitive exercise like jogging will overall improve your health,” says Dr. Adolhoda, a cardiac surgeon at UC Irvine Medical Center and Long Beach VA Hospital. “If you do this repetitively, your heart rate is slower, your blood pressure is lower, and both of these are very beneficial to the heart muscle. Your organs are going to function better, and therefor, you live longer.”
He says this is why. Low blood pressure makes it easier for the heart to pump blood because the blood is not as forceful against the heart’s arteries, which lowers your chances of a stroke and heart disease. And a low heart rate is good for the body because it requires less energy for the heart to function. The heart muscle works less to provide more and it makes each heart beat more efficient.
Repetitive jogging keeps the heart in shape, says Dr, Adolhoda, and in turn, keeps you in shape. Another way jogging keeps you in shape is by boosting your metabolism, which means we can eat more!
“Your appetite improves,” says Dr. Adholoda. “Your body is in need of more protein, more water, and nutrition, so you eat more. You eat more but don’t gain weight.”
So don’t think that just because you had yogurt and oats for breakfast you’re doing your body any good, because if you’re not active, eating less can mean gaining more.
“If someone is sleeping on the couch all day and doesn’t eat much they become more fat,” he says. “You must be active because instead of converting calories to fat, it converts calories into protein which bulks up muscle.”
And jogging can prevent illness like the common cold or flu because the immune system becomes stronger. “That could also be a reason why that jogging increases your lifespan because it boosts your immune system and it increases your survival.”
Experts have even suggested that the exercise can also prevent other illnesses… like the “C” word. This is because jogging regularly trains you to become a better breather, delivering oxygen properly to the muscles and tissues in the body.
“Better oxygen delivery to the tissues can prevent cancer. People who exercise more repetitively and all their life may be protected from cancer because cancer is a result of damage to the tissues, and one damage is having the tissue not have enough oxygen.”
Besides the healthy heart and the fast metabolism, jogging makes you happy. Seriously, it gives you a high that can be addicting.
“When you’re exercising, your endorphin levels go up and this hormone makes you feel better- makes you feel good. As a result of that, you like to keep going with that repetitive exercise.”
So just get started because once you start, you may never stop… or die! JK, but really.