Typically, when someone decides that they need to get in better shape and lose weight, they start a jogging program. Unfortunately, this can be a mistake for a number of reasons. New research has shown that jogging can actually shorten your lifespan! Scientists from the Cardiovascular Research Institute at the Lehigh Valley Health Network in Pennsylvania studied more than 3800 joggers and found that people who do a lot of jogging have shorter lifespans. The participants were both men and women and had an average age of 46. The researchers took into account what medication the people were taking and also whether they had high blood pressure, high cholesterol or a history of smoking, but none of these factors could be used to explain why the people who ran the furthest had shorter lifespans.
But don’t think this means you should be a couch potato! People who didn’t do any jogging also had a shortened lifespan. The joggers who ran 2-3 hours per week had the longest lifespan. This would suggest that a moderate amount of exercise is the best prescription for your health.
Of course, not everyone is actually fit enough to jog 2-3 hours per week. Many people have arthritic knees, hips and spinal joints that make jogging too painful to perform. For those people, substitute quick walking as your exercise of choice. Since walking doesn’t burn as many calories as running or jogging the same distance, try to increase your walking time to 4-5 hours per week. Although jogging has its benefits, it can’t compete with many other workouts—options that burn more fat, deliver better cardiovascular benefits, trigger physiological responses that further enhance body composition, and present less risk of nagging inflammation and overuse injuries.
If you would like professional assistance in setting up the right exercise program to improve your health, please schedule a consultation with one of our BTF doctors. All the BTF doctors are Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialists with the National Strength & Conditioning Association and would love to help you feel and perform better.