For a Longer Life, Go Running

    02 June, 2015

    From VOA Learning English, this is the Health and Lifestyle Report.

    We all know that exercise is good for your health. But some kinds of exercise may be better than others.

    Running, for example, may help to protect against heart disease and other health problems. Running may also help you live longer.

    In this 2012 file photo, Andrea Lemastra, right, and Kim Walsh, left, jog on a wooded park trail with Lemastra's four-year-old son, Luca, in the U.S. state of Ohio. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
    In this 2012 file photo, Andrea Lemastra, right, and Kim Walsh, left, jog on a wooded park trail with Lemastra's four-year-old son, Luca, in the U.S. state of Ohio. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)

    Researchers say it is not important how far you run. It also does not matter how fast or even how often you run.

    As advertisements for the running shoe Nike say, "just do it."

    Recently, researchers studied more than 55,000 adults. About one-fourth of the adults reported running regularly. The study found these runners were considerably less likely than non-runners to die of any form of disease, including heart disease. In fact, the runners lived, on average, three years longer than the non-runners.

    This study lasted 15 years. During that time, more than 3,400 of the individuals died. About 1,200 of the deaths were linked to heart disease, a heart attack or stroke.

    One of the researchers is a man named D.C. Lee. He is an assistant professor of kinesiology, or the science of movement, at Iowa State University. Compared to non-runners, he says, runners showed a much lower risk of dying from some diseases.

    "Compared to non-runners, runners showed 30 percent lower risk of death by any causes, including heart attack, stroke or cancer. Also, runners compared to non-runners showed 45 percent lower risk of death by cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke."

    D.C. Lee and the other researchers found that speed, distance and how often one runs made little difference in reducing the risk of death. The runners in the study averaged between 10 and 16 kilometers per hour. Mr. Lee says slower runners, and those who only ran once or twice a week, were helped nearly as much as those who ran faster and further.

    "And also we looked at the running over time and we found that persistent runners - over I think six years - they showed the biggest benefits, as well."

    To stay healthy, doctors suggest that adults up to age 65 do 150 minutes of moderate exercise every week. They say these individuals need 75 minutes of vigorous exercise, like running, every week for good health.

    But how complete is this study?

    The researchers note that their study was based on the participants' answering questions over the years. The study lacked complete information on what these men and women ate and other facts about their lifestyles.

    Researchers say this missing information could have affected the results. Still, they hope their findings will motivate healthy adults to start running, a bit, down the road to a longer life.

    Five tips for safe running

    Running may be good exercise, but it can be difficult on the body. Here are five commonly shared ideas among fitness experts to reduce the risk of injury for people new to running or jogging.

    1. Take it easy

    Do not run too much, too soon or too fast. Most people get running injuries when they push themsleves too hard. The body needs time to get used to increases in distance or speed. Muscles and joints need time to recover.

    1. Listen to your body

    Most running injuries do not come out of the blue. Usually, there are warning signs. They may include body aches, sore muscles and pain that does not go away.

    1. Get good running shoes

    There is no single best shoe for every runner. You should find the shoe that offers the best fit and support for your feet. More importantly, you should replace your shoes every 500 to 800 kilometers.

    1. Take good notes

    Take time after each run to write down notes about what you did and how you felt. Look for patterns, things that happen over and over again.

    For example, you may find that your knees ache when you run on consecutive or back-to-back days. But perhaps you feel great when you rest in between running days. These notes will help you identify the best workout for you.

    1. Cross train

    As we said earlier, running is hard on your body. So physical fitness experts suggest some form of cross training to improve muscle balance and to help you stay injury free.

    They say swimming, yoga, and riding a bicycle are good exercises to combine with running. These exercises are easier on the body.

    I'm Anna Matteo.

    Jessica Berman wrote this report. Anna Matteo adapted it for Learning English with additional material from

    Are you a runner? Share your thoughts and running tips in the comments section.


    Words in This Story

    regularly adv. at the same time every day, week, month, etc.: on a regular basis

    kinesiology n. the study of the mechanics of body movements

    moderateadj. average in size or amount: neither too much nor too little

    vigorousadj. done with great force and energy

    out of the blue idiom. without warning; unexpectedly

    consecutive adj. following one after the other in a series : following each other without interruption

    workout n. a period of physical exercise that you do in order to improve your fitness, ability, or performance

    fitness n. the quality or state of being fit or in shape