Too much of anything is not good. While regular jogging is known to have unlimited health benefits, overdoing it can do more harm than good.
A study conducted on 5,048 Danish adults for 12 years showed that engaging in light and moderate jogging at a slow pace helped live longer. On the other hand, strenuous or fast running yielded similar health outcomes as not doing any physical activity.
Strenuous joggers in the study died at the same period as sedentary non-joggers.
People, who ran for one to 2.4 hours per week and limited frequency of their running to thrice a week, had the lowest rates of mortality. A pace of 5 miles per hour was found to be ideal.
"If your goal is to decrease risk of death and improve life expectancy, jogging a few times a week at a moderate pace is a good strategy. Anything more is not just unnecessary, it may be harmful," Peter Schnohr, researcher at the Frederiksberg Hospital in Copenhagen, Denmark, said in a news release.
Participants included 1,098 healthy joggers and 413 healthy sedentary non-joggers, aged between 20 and 95.
Researchers noted down total time spent on jogging, pace (as calculated by the participant) and frequency. The pace varied from 5 miles (12- minute mile) per hour to 7 miles (8 -minute mile).
During the study period, 156 people died. It included 28 joggers and 128 sedentary non-joggers. The joggers were young and had a lower body mass index (BMI). They were also completely free from diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure. Prevalence of smoking was also very low.
Schnohr said that strenuous jogging was more or less equal to very vigorous exercise and can leave a negative impact on the cardiovascular system. "It is important to emphasize that the pace of the slow joggers corresponds to vigorous exercise and strenuous jogging corresponds to very vigorous exercise," Schnohr, explained. "When performed for decades, this activity level could pose health risks, especially to the cardiovascular system."
The study has been reported in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Similarly, a study published in August last year, found that heart attack survivors who ran 4.4 miles or walked briskly 6.6 miles daily doubled their risk of dying from heart attack or stroke. At the same time, running more than 30 miles and walking more than 46 miles per week, reduced cardiovascular deaths by 65%.