Exercising is good for you, right?

Exercising is good for you, right? Being a couch potato is bad,too, isn't it? So people who exercise a lot MUST live longer than people who ride the couch and watch TV all day. Oh, well, maybe not! Some new research shows some very interesting data about just how much exercise is enough exercise.

Previous research has shown that people who exercise have nearly one third lower mortality than people who don't. In a new research study, which was published in The Journal of the American College of Cardiology, scientists from the University of Copenhagen studied the impact of jogging on lifespan. The results were unexpected.

The scientists used health and exercise records of thousands of Danish adults. Some of the people in the data set reported that they exercised very little. Others were avid joggers. All told, they studied over 1,000 joggers and nearly 4,000 non-joggers. The joggers were divided into groups depending on the frequency and intensity of their workouts. The lifespan of each group (no exercise, light exercise, strenuous exercise) was determined from death records.

Not so surprisingly, people who did not exercise had statistically short lifespans. As might be expected, people practicing light to moderate exercise had significantly longer lives. What was unexpected was the finding that people who exercised strenuously had lifespans as short as the couch potatoes.

The sweet spot for the best lifespan (jogging-wise) was slow-paced jogging for one to two and a half hours a week.

This research study found that too much exercise was as bad for lifespan as too little. Moderate exercise was very beneficial, but too much of a good thing is NOT a good thing. There is more research required to validate these findings. One area that was not investigated in this study was the cause of each death. Further, exercise other than jogging was not measured. And, could it be that strenuous joggers tend to get hit by cars? There are other lifestyle variables that should be considered before too many conclusions are drawn.

So consider these results before you decide to take up some extreme sport. Maybe a brisk walk around the block is actually a better health decision!

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