Jogging slowly for just an hour a week can increase your life expectancy by around 6 years, according to a large scale new study.
There has been an ongoing debate about whether, on balance, jogging is beneficial or harmful to middle-aged people.
As part of the Copenhagen City Heart study, a team of scientists looked at death rates among a group of 1,116 male and 762 female joggers over a period of up to 35 years.
Participants were asked how much time they spent jogging each week and whether they ran at a slow, average or fast pace.
Researchers then compared the results with non-joggers from other participants in the main Copenhagen City Heart Study. They found that the risk of death for both male and female runners was reduced by 44%.
After taking account of age, jogging increased the lifespan of men by 6.2 years and of women by 5.6 years.
The greatest benefit came from jogging at a slow or average pace, enough to cause a slight breathlessness, compared to pushing to physical limits.
Jogging delivers multiple health benefits, improving oxygen uptake, lowering blood pressure, preventing obesity and improving cardiac function.
Danish heart expert Dr Peter Schnohr, who led the study, said: "We can say with certainty that regular jogging increases longevity. The good news is that you don't actually need to do that much to reap the benefits."
If exercise is important to you, compare health insurance policies with discounted gym membership.
© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2012