Run for Life: How Running Can Add to Your Years

Source: simple payday.co.uk

There’s been talk in recent years that running, contrary to the belief by some of being detrimental to one’s health over the long-term, may actually increase one’s life. Earlier this year there was an article in the New York Times titled, An Hour of Running May Add 7 Years to Your Life by Gretchen Reynolds. The article highlighted the results of a follow-up study done as a result of a slew of questions, which resulted from an earlier study done by the Cooper Institute in Dallas in which a group of distinguished exercise scientists scrutinized data from a large trove of medical and fitness tests thereby determining that as little as five minutes of running per day was associated with prolonged lifespans.

This follow-up study according to Reynolds is based on the review and analysis of past research about exercise and premature death and found that runners, when compared to nonrunners, and even other exercise enthusiasts , showed a tendency to live longer by up to three years in spite of their pace, consistency, the weight factor, or even their smoking or drinking habits.

Now I don’t know about you, but the mere idea that running, a controversial topic at best with people on either side of the aisle weighing in about its pros and cons, and far too many leaning to sustained running being bad for you overtime, could end up being a huge plus. This sets off all sorts of conversations in my head the least of which are the implications to my running constancy and intensity.

The Times highlighted the findings of the new study published last month in Progress in Cardiovascular Disease by Dr. Duck-chul Lee, a professor of kinesiology at Iowa State University and his colleagues who found that the results confirmed findings from the earlier study where cumulatively, the data indicated that running, whatever someone’s pace or mileage, dropped a person’s risk of premature death by almost 40 percent. It went on to note that the researchers calculated that, hour for hour, running statistically returns more time to people’s lives than it consumes. Figuring two hours per week of training, since that was the average reported by runners in the Cooper Institute study, the researchers estimated that a typical runner would spend less than six months actually running over the course of almost 40 years, but could expect an increase in life expectancy of 3.2 years, for a net gain of about 2.8 years. Hence the additional seven years life expectancy per hour of running.

Additionally, they noted that running appeared unique in its ability to increase a runner’s life expectancy by this much when compared with other aerobic sports, which also increases longevity only not half as much, but cautioned against believing this made one immortal since the increase in years was capped at three regardless of how much one ran.

Many of us may question if this is in fact so, and science says it is, how can we harness this advantage against mortality. While Dr Lee has no magic formula, he does reiterate what we’ve known for some time, that running reduces your risks for life-threatening diseases, increases your aerobic capacity – an excellent indicator of longer-term health – and predisposes you, the runner, to healthier eating and a healthier lifestyle, and those factors are in themselves uniquely positioned to derive the best result. Therefore, while running may not guarantee the longest and healthiest life, it does maximize my chances to add to my years. In this instance being an opportunist is a good thing.

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The Freedom to Run – Happy 4th!

Happy Fourth Of July!

Happy Fourth Of July!

Many of us take our freedom for granted. We live in a country unrivaled in its advocacy and support for  individual freedom and one’s right to practice, speak, share and do just about anything that does not endanger or threaten that same freedom we all enjoy. To the extent that we embrace these rights responsibly, we have a very good chance of living a fruitful, productive and healthy life.

Four years ago Blomberg Rankings did a survey on the world’s healthiest countries, many wondered where was the US on this list. http://www.bloomberg.com/slideshow/2012-08-13/world-s-healthiest-countries.html#slide21                   Ranking 37th, the United States, arguably one of the most developed countries in the world did not then produce a rating worthy of its standing. The question is, why? And have we progressed for there at all?

Chief among the reasons for our poor showing on Blomberg’s list is our inability to take responsibility for our health. More than how we treat our bodies (diet and exercise), holistic wellbeing ( body, mind and spirit) speaks to correctly embracing an attitude of health and wellbeing that informs our decisions and subsequent actions, thus creating a lifestyle of worth and enduring happiness.

Can we truly say we are free if we fail to use our freedom to educate and liberate ourselves from a mindset that harms and hinders us from realizing our full potential? Blame a fast food culture, advertising, social media, everything but ourselves, and our responsibility to make wise choices. We’ve heard time again that nothing in life is free, it is true. Our freedom came at great cost to many, we have the responsibility to embrace and promote it. To whom much is given, much is expected. One way we can do this is by adopting a healthy lifestyle; for those of us who run, we’re halfway there already. For all of us, let’s commit to embracing freedom beginning one step at a time. Celebrate: get out, get going, get active. Be Healthy. 

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Happy Independence!

In Honor of National Running Day

Source: dreamstime.com

Source: dreamstime.com

What’s the fuss? Someone asks. I respond with the very cliché, ‘If you must ask, you won’t understand.’

National Running Day: a day where runners all over this great country share their bragging rights and love for running, or for the results of running.

Like any great occasion that impacts people the world over, and thus deserves a day of recognition, honor and celebration, running gives us runners the opportunity to live it out loud; to tell the world why we indulge in the pain, the sacrifice, the dedication, the insanity of a sport that many will call torture.

We beg to differ and think that running rocks!

Here are a few reasons why:

  • It builds community and individual spirit
  • It fosters a healthy lifestyle and overall good health
  • It encourages drive and purpose
  • It provides opportunities to positively affect the lives of others
  • It develops healthy attitudes and behaviors
  • It educates, informs and facilitates personal and social development
  • It negates the racial, political, cultural and social divide and brings people of every creed and race together with a common winning goal
  • It empowers our competitive spirit and inspires our ambitions

With all the good that running does for our nation and world community, there’s a lot that we, as individuals, get from it. Here are just a few reasons why we run:

For freedom, health, strength, beauty, peace, companionship, a PR, happiness, escape, meditation, solitude, direction, purpose, charity; For causes, for those who can’t, because we can, for satisfaction, achievement, inspiration, encouragement, for the love of running, for life and a million other reasons that space and time does not permit here.

For my part, it is my happy place and I go as often as I can. So, wherever you are today, be sure to holler or high-five another runner as we celebrate the only way we know how; running of course.

Happy National Running Day!

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