Senior runners postponed disability 8.7 years

Human Aging, Position Paper
Longevity of adults has changed little
Senior runners postponed disability 8.7 years
Estrogen with progesterone lengthens women lives
Testosterone and vascular functions in aging
estrogen and longevity
Free radicals part of aging process
FAD AGING CURES EXPOSED, by leading scientists
genes that slow aging
Genes and aging
Insulin's effect upon the SKN-1 gene and aging
Telemores, sexual size dimorphism and gender gap in life expectancy
SKIN AGING: causes & treatments
Carbohydrates and aging and age related diseases
Arthritis reduced with vigorous physical activity
Why Women Live Longer than Men

A 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)

Runners 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

Benjamin 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.

Background  The 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.

Methods  A 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.

Results  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 Questionnaire disability 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], respectively). Controls 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.

Conclusion  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 of Medicine, Vol. 346:793:801, March 14, 2002, No. 11


Exercise 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 exercise-test variables.

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 result 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 survival.

Conclusions Exercise capacity is a more powerful predictor of mortality among men than other established risk factors for cardiovascular disease