Mature Market Experts Stat of The Day: Running Decreases Disability and Increases Longevity?

Science continues to uncover the benfits of running.

Science continues to uncover the benfits of running.

Mature Market Experts Stat of The Day: Running Decreases Disability and Increases Longevity?


Many of you know I’m an avid runner (with the speed of a penguin). It’s a habit I formed after I hit my 40’s and started to notice the pounds pile on. I actually try to run two to three marathons a year. For which, I have no other stated goal but to finish. And for this, my friends and family have long called me crazy.


“All that pounding can’t be good for your body.”


“You’ll develop arthritis.”


“You’ll ruin your knees.”


Sadly, I know that the only way I will routinely exercise is to have an intimidating physical challenge in front of me. In short, it forces discipline.


Well, now I have some backup in the form of study out of Stanford University School of Medicine by Eliza F. Chakravarty, M.D., M.S., and her colleagues. The study’s results, published in the August 11/25 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of JAMA/Archives journals, followed 284 members of a nationwide running club and 156 healthy controls. All of the study’s participants where 50 and older when the study began in 1984 . . . which makes all of them my heroes.


After 19 years (that’s a lot of running), 81 runners (15%) had died compared to 144 controls (34%). Disability levels were also lower in the runners group at all times of the study — and remained so throughout the study. In fact, according to the study, running reduced the risk not only of heart disease, but of cancer and neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s.


This is huge. As the mature market continues to live longer, the ability to decrease or hold disability at bay pays huge dividends. Think about it . . . increased cardiovascular conditioning, improved aerobic capacity, increased bone mass (that pounding actually does some good), improved cognitive skills, and reduced risk of Alzheimer’s and arthritis!


And even though most of the runners stopped running in the 70’s, they continued to be the more physically active group.  


The study which was supported by funding from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases and the National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, backs up the old saying, “use it or lose it.”


I’m lacing up my shoes right now.



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