Slow and Steady

Wins the Race

This saying may have more meaning in light of a recent research finding: while a light jog a few times a week may help you live longer, more intense running may do no more to extend your life than remaining sedentary.

As part of the Danish study, researchers examined information from about 1,000 healthy adult joggers, along with information from about 400 adults who were healthy, but mostly sedentary. The study defined “light joggers” as joggers who ran at a speed of about 5 miles per hour a few times a week, for less than 2.5 hours per week total.

Strenuous joggers, on the other hand, were people who ran at a speed of more than 7 miles per hour, for more than 4 hours per week.

The research showed that the light joggers were almost 80 percent less likely to die over the period of the 12- year study than those who were sedentary. What surprised researchers was that strenuous joggers were just as likely to die during the 12-year period as those who were sedentary.

According to Dr. Peter Schnohr, a co-author of the study, the finding, “suggests there may be an upper limit for exercise dosing that is optimal for health benefits.” He also said that for those who are exercising with the goal of increasing their life expectancy, “jogging a few times a week at a moderate pace is a good strategy. Anything more is not just unnecessary, it may be harmful.”

Although these findings may surprise some people, according to Dr. Karol Watson at UCLA, they are actually consistent with previous findings, which have suggested that when people run too far or too fast, the health benefits of the activity decrease. Although the researchers weren’t exactly sure why strenuous exercise appeared to have negative effects, they did say that a possible reason was that long-term, strenuous, endurance exercise has been shown to have harmful effects on the heart.

If there’s one thing to take from this study, it’s that even light exercise performed for a short amount of time has health benefits and exercise like anything must be done in moderation. Remember your body needs at least 1-2 rest days per week to recover.

So, get out there and get moving – but be careful not to overdo it.

If you do push a little to hard and start getting aches and pains, come in to see one of our expert physical therapists right away to start recovering.