(HealthDay News) – Runners have a reduced risk of all-cause mortality, with U-shaped mortality curves for distance, speed, and frequency.

To investigate the dose-response effect of running on all-cause mortality, Duck-chul Lee, PhD, from the University of South Carolina in Columbia, and colleagues used data from 52,656 adult participants (aged 20–100 years; mean age, 43 years; 26% women) enrolled in the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study who had a medical examination during 1971–2002. Mortality follow-up used the National Death Index through 2003.

The researchers identified 2,984 deaths during an average follow-up of 15 years. About 27% of the participants engaged in leisure-time running. Compared with non-runners, runners had a 19% reduced risk of mortality, with U-shaped mortality curves observed for distance, speed, and frequency. The hazard ratios for all-cause mortality were significantly reduced for runners who ran a distance of 0.1–19.9 miles per week, for those who ran at speeds of 6–7 miles per hour, and for those who ran two to five times per week.

“Running distances of 0.1–19.9 miles/week, speeds of 6–7 miles/hour, or frequencies of two to five days/week were associated with a lower risk of all-cause mortality, whereas higher mileage, faster paces, and more frequent running were not associated with better survival,” the authors write.

The study was partially funded by an unrestricted grant from the Coca-Cola Company.

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