Over the last 30 years, studies have been conducted on the consequence of running throughout your life time and expanding your life span. The research was based on the “Compression of Morbidity” COM- Maximize and increase a healthy life span, quality of life and minimize the time spent feeling less than well.
In order to contribute to COM, an individual has to eat healthy foods, not smoke and maintain a healthy weight throughout his life. But the most important factor that had the most impact on extending a healthier life span is consistent exercise, especially running. The research started in 1984 and was based on two groups: One groups of runners who ran 50-65km/week, 50+ yrs old. The second group, also in the same age group, did modest amounts of exercise. During the research, the two groups subjects were evaluated every 7-8 years.
Over 30 years later, with some of the individuals in their 90’s, the results are quite impressive; 20% of the more sedentary group had died, but only 15% of the running group. The runners lived seven years longer the non-runners group. But the most socking result is that the runners had less disability, even their lifelong running didn’t cause any crippling issues. It took the runners group individuals 11 to 16 years longer to reach any given disability issues. When the runners group subjects reached the age of 80, their quality of life and independence ability living age was more like 65-70yrs old. By the time they reached the age of 90, the runners group individuals are still living seven years longer and delayed the disabilities by 11-16 years.
The outcome of this healthy living doesn’t happen overnight. It only happens to those who live and eat healthy, and exercise or run for decades. We have to understand that aging starts when we are 20-30 yrs old, we can’t wait until we’re 70 to start looking after our well-being. The runners group benefited from the cumulative effect of year after year of continuous running. The studies not only showed strong links between the fitness level and the lower mortality rates, but also decreased risks of heart disease, dementia and hypertension. During the research, the fittest subjects had a 36% lower risk of developing dementia. Even amongst the individuals in the runners group who had two or more health problems like heart disease, diabetes or high blood pressure, these runners had a 35-47% lower mortality compared to the non-running group. Running for a lifetime showed beneficial effects in all the individuals with any specific chronic health issues. Exercise improves any ailment out there, now we know that exercise is medicine and a miracle drug.
Before we start getting older, we have to take control of our fitness level. Exercise is a self-determined behavior. It’s a choice we can make to look after our health, therefore we have control over the outcome. The rewards will continue for those who keep running and exercising past 50 to 70 years of life!
Train Hard, Eat Right, Feel Great!