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Short Light Jogs Healthier Than Long Hard Runs, Longevity Study

Update Date: Feb 02, 2015 07:50 PM EST
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Too much exercise could shorten lifespan, according to a new heart study.

New research reveals that jogging short distances might be healthier than jogging longer distances.

The latest study, which involved data from 5,048 healthy participants in the Copenhagen City Heart Study, monitored 1,098 healthy joggers and 413 healthy but sedentary non-joggers for 12 years.

After accounting for hours of jogging, frequency and participant's perception of pace, researchers found that light joggers had the lowest rates of death. However, strenuous joggers were just as likely to die as sedentary non-joggers.

The findings linked jogging from 1 to 2.4 hours a week to the lowest mortality rates. Researchers noted that the optimal frequency of jogging was no more than three times per week.

Study results indicated that there were 28 deaths among joggers and 128 among sedentary non-joggers. Researchers noted that joggers were on average younger, slimmer, had lower blood pressure and prevalence of smoking and diabetes.

"It is important to emphasize that the pace of the slow joggers corresponds to vigorous exercise and strenuous jogging corresponds to very vigorous exercise," lead researcher Dr. Peter Schnohr, MD, DMSc, of the Copenhagen City Heart Study, Frederiksberg Hospital in Copenhagen, Denmark, said in a news release. "When performed for decades, this activity level could pose health risks, especially to the cardiovascular system."

Researchers said the latest findings support previous studies that showed that more than moderate exercise could shorten lifespan.

"The U-shaped association between jogging and mortality suggests there may be an upper limit for exercise dosing that is optimal for health benefits," Schnohr said. "If your goal is to decrease risk of death and improve 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."

The findings are published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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