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Scientists have found an unexpected link between professional running and life expectancy

Maria ShevchukNews
Excessive physical activity can be good for your health. Source: pexels.com

Running for 10 hours a week for over 120 kilometers is certainly an extreme workload. However, a new study shows that some professional athletes not only do not exhaust their bodies, but also add years to their lives thanks to such brutal training.

The analysis includes data on the health of the first 200 people to run 1.6 km in less than 4 minutes in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. According to a team of researchers from Canada and Australia, these professional runners lived on average almost 5 years longer than the rest of the population, Science Alert writes.

The findings contradict the idea that excessive physical activity has a negative impact on health in the long run. Pushing the human body to the limit can even be beneficial, at least for some people.

Although numerous studies show that physically active people live longer, it is not yet clear whether it is beneficial or harmful to exercise more than recommended.

Scientists have found an unexpected link between professional running and life expectancy

Some scientists suggest that the lifestyle of high-intensity athletes participating in marathons, endurance cycling, or triathlons may put excessive stress on the heart, increasing the risk of premature death. But while intense exercise can cause health problems for people who lead a sedentary lifestyle, the consequences for experienced athletes may be different.

In 2022, a Harvard study found that people who exercise more than recommended can reduce their risk of death by 30%. This is 10% more than following the activity recommendations.

University of Alberta cardiologist Stephen Foulkes and colleagues have confirmed that epidemiological studies of Tour de France cyclists, Olympic athletes, and rowers have shown increased life expectancy compared to the general population.

Now researchers have shown that this pattern is also true for short-distance runners. This group of athletes pushes their respiratory, cardiovascular, metabolic, and musculoskeletal systems to the max.

Scientists have found an unexpected link between professional running and life expectancy

To achieve a high level of speed, runners regularly participate in high-intensity physical activity.

In 2018, cardiologists found that the life expectancy of such runners is 12 years longer than the average.

Scientists say that the effects of longevity are primarily mediated by a reduction in mortality from cardiovascular disease and cancer. They also emphasize that the genetic component is also important.

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