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Is Too Much Jogging Dangerous for Your Health?

We are all familiar with the benefits of regular exercise, including jogging. It is important to get your heart rate up for at least 20 minutes per day, but is it possible to overdo it? According to a recent study, the answer is yes. In fact, jogging too hard or too much can be as detrimental to your health as not jogging at all. In this case, less might be more.

The Dangers of Overdoing It

A study recently published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology shows that excessive jogging may be as unhealthy as being totally sedentary. The study followed just over 1,000 joggers and almost 4,000 non-joggers for twelve years. At the end of that period, 28 joggers and 128 non-joggers had died.

While these data show that non-joggers tend to die sooner than joggers, the researchers reported higher mortality rates among those who were more intense runners than among those with less demanding jogging regimens. Also, they showed that strenuous jogging could lead to a number of cardiovascular problems, including diastolic dysfunction and stiffening in large arterial walls.

How Much Is Too Much?

In the study, those who jogged at over 7 mph for over 4 hours per week, or who ran more than 2.5 hours over three times per week at the same speed, had similar mortality rates to sedentary individuals. It would seem that this amount of running is as detrimental to your health as sitting around watching TV or surfing the web all day.

How Much Is Best?

On the other hand, lighter running was far more favorable. The optimal running schedule seemed to consist of the following:

  • 1.4 hours (an hour and 24 minutes) at most per week
  • 5 mph, or about a twelve-minute mile
  • No more than three days per week

Runners with this type of regimen seemed to have the lowest mortality rate. According to the study’s results, less is more when it comes to running. Or rather, to be more exact, the right amount of running is more beneficial than too much.

Future Studies

The researchers stated that further work will need to be done to get more reliable data. While this study did follow a wide variety of people, other types of exercise were not taken into account. Also, running routines were self-reported, which leaves some room for bias. Finally, the sample of intense joggers may have been too small, since only 127 individuals reported strenuous running habits. More controlled studies will be necessary before anything conclusive can be said on the matter of whether less running truly is more when it comes to your health.

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