On The Run column: Science says running helps you live longer

Jay Kumar, running columnist for the Salem News.

If you’ve read this column regularly at any point in the last 11 years (!), you’ll know that there is a seemingly endless string of scientific studies about the positives and negatives of running. All of these studies need to be taken with a grain of salt, but that doesn’t mean they’re not interesting.

The latest example of a positive comes from a study review published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine (https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/early/2019/09/25/bjsports-2018-100493) that looked at 14 previously published studies and concluded that running can help you live longer.

The studies examined more than 232,000 runners and the association between running and the risk of all-cause, cardiovascular and cancer mortality. The researchers followed up on the runners from 5.5 to 35 years and recorded nearly 26,000 deaths. In the review, it was found that running participation was associated with 27 percent, 30 percent and 23 percent lower risk of all-cause, cardiovascular and cancer mortality, respectively.

“Increased rates of participation in running, regardless of its dose, would probably lead to substantial improvements in population health and longevity,” according to the BJSM abstract. “Any amount of running, even just once a week, is better than no running, but higher doses of running may not necessarily be associated with greater mortality benefits.”

Even the smallest dose of running—once a week, less than 50 minutes per week, running 10-minute miles—still led to significant all-cause mortality benefits.

“Some clinicians and public health stakeholders may have been discouraged from promoting running as a part of ‘lifestyle medicine’ among their patients and communities, because vigorous exertion has been linked with sudden cardiac death,” according to the review. “Our results provide meta-analytic evidence that, in the general population, the mortality benefit of running outweighs the risk. Previous studies have suggested that this also holds true for some clinical populations.

“However, running might not be a suitable activity for all clinical populations, and a clinician may need to make an informed decision about whether or not to prescribe it on a case-by-case basis. Furthermore, participation in running is also associated with an increased injury risk, and the risk increases with increasing daily duration of the activity. If there is an increased risk of running-related overuse injuries, clinicians may consider recommending walking or a lower dose of running. Our findings support such a recommendation by highlighting the probable mortality benefits of low running doses.”

That’s pretty good news for runners, even though there will probably be a new review out next month that says exactly the opposite. That’s just the way of the world with scientific research. But the review is especially encouraging for a casual runner who may run fewer than 10 miles per week but may get the same health benefits as someone who runs more than 100.

Now, does that mean those two runners are equally fit? Of course not. But in the long term, both are helping themselves by running however much they do on a regular basis.

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Starts and stops:

The 2019 Marblehead Race Series continues with three races over the next few weeks, including the Full Hearts 5K (https://www.northshoretimingonline.com/reglive2017.aspx?eventyear_id=1651) on Sunday, Nov. 17 at the Village School, 93 Village St., Marblehead; all proceeds benefit the Fit Girls Run Club. The Back the Track 5K (https://www.marbleheadtrack.org/back-the-track-5k) is set for Saturday, Nov. 28 at the Marblehead Community Center on 10 Humphrey St. And on Sunday, Dec. 8, the 8th annual Dreidel Dash returns with a 10K and kids’ 1-mile race (https://www.northshoretimingonline.com/reglive2017.aspx?eventyear_id=1632) at the Jewish Community Center of the North Shore, 4 Community Road.

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It’s time to talk turkey. Turkey trots, that is.

North Shore Thanksgiving races are right around the corner. The races start on Sunday, Nov. 24 with the 42nd annual Essex Lions Club Turkey Trot 5K Road Race and Fun Walk; race starts at 11 a.m., walk starts at 10. Visit http://www.lightboxreg.com/event_4583?func=&mobile=0 for more information.

On Thanksgiving Day, the 16th annual Wild Turkey 5-Mile Run is set for 8 a.m. starting at the Salem Five Community Room, 210 Essex St., Salem (https://racewire.com/register.php?id=10701). The 32nd annual Feaster Five includes 5-mile and 5K races and about 10,000 participants running through Andover. The 5K, 5-miler and walk start at 8:30 a.m. and kids’ fun run starts at 7:45 a.m. Visit https://www.feasterfive.com/ for more information.

Also on Thanksgiving, the 30th annual Winner’s Circle Running Club Greater Newburyport Wild Turkey Trot 5K cross country run/walk is set for 8:30 a.m. at Pipestave Hill/Mill Pond Recreation Center in West Newbury (http://runthecircle.org/wordpress/racing/wcrc-races/wild-turkey-trot/).

The 2nd annual Thanks for the Trails 5K and Kids Fun Run is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 29 at Patton Park in Hamilton (https://ecta27.wildapricot.org/event-3153876); the 5K starts at 10 a.m. and the kids’ run at 9:30. A portion of the proceeds will go to Gabe’s Fund.

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On the Run is a biweekly column about the North Shore running scene. Send any questions, comments, or news to jay.kumar@gmail.com.

 

UPCOMING RACES

Sunday, Nov. 10

The Purple Heart Trail 10K and 1K Fun Run, the Patton Homestead, 650 Asbury Street, Hamilton. The Fun Run starts at 8:30 a.m. and the 10K starts at 9 a.m., both from the Patton Homestead’s Great Lawn. The Fun Run circles the Patton Homestead along the wood road by the Ipswich River. The event is sponsored by the Patton Homestead and co-sponsored by the A.P. Gardner American Legion Post 194. Funds raised will help further the mission of the Patton Homestead. Visit https://pattonhomestead.org/purple-heart-trail-road-race-nov-10-2019 for more information.

The 6th annual Colton Buckley 5K, AOH Club, 58 Lowell St., Peabody, 10 a.m. Race proceeds will benefit the Citizens Inn of Peabody, a sober living transitional housing program. Visit https://www.northshoretimingonline.com/reglive2017.aspx?eventyear_id=1618 for more information.

Notch Sunday Meters for Liters, Notch Brewing, 283R Derby St., Salem, 11:30 a.m. Free group 5K or 10K run from the brewery. Beer and pretzels provided to runners after the run. Runners who complete 10 runs (aka 50,000 meters) will receive Notch swag.

Wednesday, Nov. 13

Danvers 5K Fun Run, meets at Panini Pizzeria, 11 Maple St., Danvers, 7 p.m. Run starts and finishes at the corner of Elm and Page streets, near the Danvers Fresh Market Place. Free, timed run. All welcome. These events are part of a weekly 52-race series. E-mail adam@danvers5k.com.

Meters for Liters, Notch Brewing, 283R Derby St., Salem, 6:30 p.m. Free group 5K run from the brewery. Beer and pretzels provided to runners after the run. Runners who complete 10 runs (aka 50,000 meters) will receive Notch swag.

Thursday, Nov. 14

Gentile Run Club, ABV: 3.1, 59 Park St., Beverly, 6:30 p.m. Free weekly 5K run from the Gentile taproom through Beverly and back.

Weekly 5K from True North Ale, 116 County Road, Ipswich, 5:30 p.m. Free, weekly timed 5K from the brewery. Visit https://www.truenorthales.com/pages/thirsty-thursday-brewery-run for more information.

Notch Brewing Meters for Liters, Fortune Bar, 12 Friend St., Amesbury, 6:30 p.m. Free group 5K run from the bar. Runners who complete 10 runs (aka 50,000 meters) will receive Notch swag.

Sunday, Nov. 17

Notch Sunday Meters for Liters, Notch Brewing, 283R Derby St., Salem, 11:30 a.m. Free group 5K or 10K run from the brewery. Beer and pretzels provided to runners after the run. Runners who complete 10 runs (aka 50,000 meters) will receive Notch swag.

Wednesday, Nov. 20

Danvers 5K Fun Run, meets at Panini Pizzeria, 11 Maple St., Danvers, 7 p.m. Run starts and finishes at the corner of Elm and Page streets, near the Danvers Fresh Market Place. Free, timed run. All welcome. These events are part of a weekly 52-race series. E-mail adam@danvers5k.com.

Meters for Liters, Notch Brewing, 283R Derby St., Salem, 6:30 p.m. Free group 5K run from the brewery. Beer and pretzels provided to runners after the run. Runners who complete 10 runs (aka 50,000 meters) will receive Notch swag.

Thursday, Nov. 21

Gentile Run Club, ABV: 3.1, 59 Park St., Beverly, 6:30 p.m. Free weekly 5K run from the Gentile taproom through Beverly and back.

Weekly 5K from True North Ale, 116 County Road, Ipswich, 5:30 p.m. Free, weekly timed 5K from the brewery. Visit https://www.truenorthales.com/pages/thirsty-thursday-brewery-run for more information.

Notch Brewing Meters for Liters, Fortune Bar, 12 Friend St., Amesbury, 6:30 p.m. Free group 5K run from the bar. Runners who complete 10 runs (aka 50,000 meters) will receive Notch swag.

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