June 26, 2024

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Longevity: A powerful practice upended – what a new study reveals

Longevity: A powerful practice upended – what a new study reveals

We all know the value of regular exercise for health and longevity. However, some previous studies have revealed that vigorous exercise can have harmful effects, putting our bodies at risk.

Now, a new study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine turns the facts around. We concluded that it could give us longevity.

Specifically, after following a group of elite runners, researchers who were able to run a mile in less than 4 minutes found that the athletes could live on average five years longer than the general population.

Lead study author Andre La Gerche, MD, sports cardiologist and head of the Heart, Exercise and Research Trials (HEART) Laboratory, said:

“We wanted to see what happens when the body is stressed and pushed beyond its limits. There have been some findings suggesting that vigorous exercise can have a harmful effect. But it appears that is not the case after all.”


For the study, scientists examined a total of 200 male runners belonging to the so-called “elite” category from 28 countries in North America, Europe, Oceania and Africa, with an average age of 23 years.

The researchers found that the average age of death for study participants overall was 77 years, which is five years longer than the average life expectancy based on age, sex, year of birth, and race.

Longevity results are similar to elite cyclists

These findings are consistent with several other studies, including one involving Tour de France cyclists, who were also noted to have longer life spans, Andre La Gerche said.

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“We know that elite athletes ultimately have a stronger heart due to prolonged aerobic performance. Five additional years of life compared to the average is very important, especially when we found that many of these runners not only enjoyed longer lives, but better lives.”

How can we live longer

Of course, we can’t all be great athletes. This can’t happen overnight either. How can we, who do not belong to this category, prolong our lives?

It only recommends the following:

  • Good nutrition.
  • Avoid consuming alcohol.
  • Adequate and good sleep.
  • Regular physical activity.

“Any type of exercise benefits cardiovascular health as long as it is done consistently and safely. Let’s take inspiration from elite athletes and aim for moderate exercise as much as possible.”

He concluded, “The next steps include conducting more studies on other types of athletes, as this study concerned runners exclusively.”