fitness

Running too hard is worse for you than no exercise at all. Slow coaches, rejoice!

Image: iStock.

It’s the “scientific” excuse that’ll get you out of those painful, hurty runs for good. A Danish study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology has found that pushing yourself to your limits when working out can actually have a negative impact on your health.

And get this – running at a moderate pace is better for you. Yes, slow and steady really does win the race.

The scientists followed 400 healthy but mostly sedentary non-runners and 1000 healthy runners between the ages of 20 to 86 for 12 years. Participants logged how often they jogged, at what intensity, and for how long.

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Their results found that light joggers were about 78 percent less likely to die over the 12-year study than those who were sedentary. For those of you not familiar with “light jogging”, it’s around 8 kilometres per hour.

Translation: moderate exercise is better for you than sitting on the couch watching Game of Thrones. But we kind of knew that already.

What we didn’t know was that those who went for strenuous runs (at a speed of 11 kilometres per hour) were just as likely to die during the study period as those who were sedentary.

Mind = blown.

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One of the researchers from the Frederiksberg Hospital in Copenhagen, Jacob Louis Marott, said:

“You don’t actually have to do that much to have a good impact on your health. No exercise recommendations across the globe mention an upper limit for safe exercise, but perhaps there is one.

“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.”

Rarely does science throw up a statistic so awesome it not only allows us to take it easy in the exercise department, it RECOMMENDS we do so.

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For those of you who actually love a vigorous workout, don’t stress, you are not going to screw up your health.

In an editorial accompanying the findings, Duck-chul Lee, of Iowa State University’s Department of Kinesiology, and colleagues, explained:

“The goal is not to unnecessarily frighten people who wish to participate in more-strenuous exercise. We still need more data to truly determine ‘is more actually worse?'”

The jury is out for now, but we’ll be slowing our workouts down a notch, you know, in the name of health.