Jogging for as little as an hour a week can put years on your life, new research has shown.
Regular running increases the average life expectancy of men and women by around six years, a study found.
The greatest benefit came from jogging at a “slow or average” pace – enough to cause slight breathlessness – rather than pushing to physical limits.
Danish heart expert Dr Peter Schnohr, who led the study of almost 2,000 male and female joggers, said: “We can say with certainty that regular jogging increases longevity.
The jogging research is part of the Copenhagen City Heart Study which has been monitoring the health of 20,000 Danish men and women aged 20 to 93 since 1976.
A team led by Dr Schnohr looked at death rates among a sub-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. Compared with non-joggers in the main heart study population, the risk of death for both male and female runners was reduced by 44 per cent.
The data showed that, after taking account of age, jogging increased the lifespan of men by 6.2 years and of women by 5.6 years. Between one hour and two-and-a-half hours of moderately paced jogging a week, undertaken over two to three sessions, was ideal, said the scientists.