Slower Runners Live Longer—Here’s Why

Because if you run slow, who cares? Apparently your lifespan does.


Here’s some food for thought: the slower you run, the longer you live.

That’s a finding from a new study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, which concluded that people who run on a regular basis—consistently, but slowly—have a longer lifespan than those who are out pushing it to the line every time. The people who executed the research used around 1,100 joggers and 4,000 non-joggers. Everyone, men and women, were various ages, and all were relatively healthy. For the study, those who identified as “non-joggers” by definition did not participate in any strenuous activity regularly.

Fast forward more than 10 years later, and the researchers checked in on the death rates of the people involved. People who identified as joggers were split into three main groups: light joggers, moderate joggers and “strenuous joggers” based on the information regarding frequency, how many miles and pace they provided at the beginning of the study. The results? Duh—joggers had a longer lifespan or life expectancy than non-joggers.

Related: Why Running Slow Doesn’t Matter

But wait, what about the sub-groups? The light joggers had the lowest rate of death, followed by the moderate joggers. And newsflash (sorry speedsters)–the strenuous ones tied with the non-joggers with highest mortality. What’s even more shocking? Their life expectancy, statistically speaking, matched that of a sedentary person. What?!

In short, the ideal sweet spot for jogging and gaining full benefit was 2 to 3 times per week. The optimal speed was slow, and the optimal weekly distance? 1 to 2.4 miles!

Take what you want from this study, but we found it interesting and somewhat surprising! Although we are all pretty confident we will continue to train for marathons, but perhaps a more leisurely pace. Because, if you run slow, who cares?