study of Finish Olympic long runners and cross-country skiers found a 5.7 year
extension in life—see Medicine in Sports for
metastudy. Benefit depends upon type
of training, with weight training offering the least benefit. Others, controlling
for lifestyle variable
estimate the difference to be around 3 years.
However the greatest difference occurs for senior who have taken up
running, 8.7 years—article below. The
next study shows that peak exercise capacity is the best predictor of mortality.
http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=213806 (abstract & complete)
postponed disability an average of 8.7 years, and their death rate was 1/3rd , total deaths
26 to 81, cardiovascular disease 9 to 23 deaths, cancer 11 to 29, infection 1
to 7, neurological 1 to 5; misc. 4 to 17
deaths from table of 538 runners club members.
As for wear upon the knees, another study of runners found at 19 years 15% of
runners had died compared to 34%.
Another study of distant runners average age 58 found a lower rate of
osteoarthritis was 2.2% versus 9.4% for the control group.
Postponed Development of
Disability in Elderly Runners
A 13-Year Longitudinal Study
Archives of Internal Medicine,
Vol., 162. No. 20, November 11, 2002
W. E. Wang, MD, FRCPC; Dena R. Ramey, BS; Jared D. Schettler, MS; Helen B.
Hubert, PhD; James F. Fries, MD
Arch Intern Med. 2002;162:2285-2294.
magnitude and duration of the benefit of running and other aerobic
exercise on disability and mortality in elderly persons are not well
understood. We sought to quantify the benefits of aerobic exercise,
including running, on disability and mortality in elderly persons
and to examine whether morbidity can be compressed into later years
of life by regular exercise.
13-year prospective cohort study of 370 members of a runners' club
for persons aged 50 and older and 249 control subjects initially
aged 50 to 72 years (mean, 59 years), with annual ascertainment of
the Health Assessment Questionnaire disability score, noting any
deaths and their causes. Linear mixed models were used to compute
postponement in disability, and survival analysis was conducted to
determine the time to and causes of death.
Significantly (P<.001) lower disability levels in runners'
club members vs controls and in ever runners vs never runners were
sustained for at least 13 years. Reaching a Health Assessment
level of 0.075 was postponed by 8.7 (95%
confidence interval [CI], 5.5-13.7) years in runners' club members vs controls. Running club membership
and participation in other aerobic exercise protected against mortality
(rate ratio, 0.36 [95% CI, 0.20-0.65] and 0.88 [95% CI, 0.77-0.99],
respectively), while male sex and smoking were detrimental (rate
ratio, 2.4 [95% CI, 1.4-4.2] and 2.2 [95% CI, 1.1-4.6],
had a 3.3 times higher rate of death than
runners' club members, with higher death rates in every disease
category. Accelerated rates of disability and mortality were still
not seen in the runners' club members; true compression of morbidity
was not yet observable through an average age of 72 years.
Running and other aerobic exercise in elderly persons protect
against disability and early mortality, and are associated with
prolongation of a disability-free life.
From the Department of Medicine,
Stanford University School of
Medicine, Stanford, Calif.
Dr Wang is now with the Department of
Medicine, The University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis.
New England Journal
Medicine, Vol. 346:793:801, March
14, 2002, No. 11
Capacity and Mortality among Men Referred for Exercise Testing
Jonathan Myers, Ph.D., Manish Prakash,
M.D., Victor Froelicher, M.D., Dat Do, M.D., Sara Partington, B.Sc., and J.
Edwin Atwood, M.D.
Background Exercise capacity is known
to be an important prognostic factor in patients with cardiovascular
disease, but it is uncertain whether it predicts mortality equally
well among healthy persons. There is also uncertainty regarding the
predictive power of exercise capacity relative to other clinical and
Methods We studied a total of 6213
consecutive men referred for treadmill exercise testing for clinical
reasons during a mean (±SD) of 6.2±3.7 years of follow-up. Subjects
were classified into two groups: 3679 had an abnormal exercise-test
or a history of cardiovascular disease, or both, and 2534 had a normal
exercise-test result and no history of cardiovascular disease.
Overall mortality was the end point.
Results There were a total of 1256
deaths during the follow-up period, resulting in an average annual
mortality of 2.6 percent. Men who died were older than those who
survived and had a lower maximal heart rate, lower maximal systolic
and diastolic blood pressure, and lower exercise capacity. After
adjustment for age, the peak exercise capacity measured in metabolic
equivalents (MET) was the strongest predictor of the risk of death among both
normal subjects and those with cardiovascular disease. Absolute peak exercise capacity was a
stronger predictor of the risk of death than the percentage of the
age-predicted value achieved, and there was no interaction between the
use or nonuse of beta-blockade and the predictive power of exercise
capacity. Each 1-MET increase in exercise capacity conferred
a 12 percent improvement in
capacity is a more powerful predictor of mortality among men than
other established risk factors for cardiovascular disease