Do this to add 3 years to your life

Do this to add 3 years to your life

Do you want to live longer and reduce your risk for many diseases?  A new report suggests you should take up running.

According to the researchers, many incomparable benefits exist for runners including:

  • 25%–40% overall reduced risk of premature mortality
  • They live approximately 3 years longer than non-runners
  • 45%–70% reduced risk of cardiovascular disease-related mortality
  • 30%–50% reduced risk of cancer-related mortality
  • Running may be protective against mortality resulting from neurological conditions, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, and respiratory infections

The researchers also mention that running is a physical activity with few barriers to entry since a gym membership is not needed. Due to this ease of access, running has become one of the most popular physical activities, with more than 17 million people participating in road races in 2015.

If you are interested in joining the millions of other runners, Dr. Mark Neault, an Advocate Medical Group orthopedic surgeon with Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, Ill., offers the following suggestions about how to begin and remain safe from injury:

  • Be careful to work into a running program gradually. When looking for more of a challenge, increase speed or distance, but not both at the same time.
  • Varying speeds and distances in the form of intervals can help mix things up to prevent some overuse issues.
  • Be careful with shoe selection. Very few feet are perfect. Most people require support…. either from a quality shoe, an insert or both. Have a running store fit you with shoes. Many have a return guarantee.
  • Change the path and direction you run to help prevent overuse and keep things interesting.
  • Be careful about running on concrete since it offers little give, but also be careful running on loose gravel since it can increase chance of slippage and trauma.
  • Watch inclines, especially on treadmills, since they can be very challenging on your knees.
  • If you are struggling with nagging issues, have a physical therapist who specializes in running perform a gait analysis.

Dr. Neault emphasizes that most running injuries are from overuse and are preventable if you are mindful of the recommendations above.

Mary Heinz, a trainer at Advocate Condell Centre Club, adds that it can be tricky to stay motivated when you take up running. Here are some ways to combat your urge to quit:

  • Run with others. When you have someone running alongside you, it motivates you to keep going. Also consider having someone bike alongside you.
  • If you don’t have anyone to run with, there are many different community groups/clubs who run together. Try searching online for one close to you.
  • Take different routes. There are so many different places you could run to help make it not as boring.
  • Music is always helpful.

Related Posts



  1. At 71 years of age, I think I’ll stick to walking to avoid any ligament damage, thank you.

  2. This is ridiculous! Running is hard on a person’s back and knees! I’m a 65 year old woman who exercises regularly and is in excellent health. I wouldn’t dream of running! Before you publish such ludicrous articles, do some research, which will prove that I am 100% correct. Really disappointed in Advocate!

  3. I tried running several years ago. It helped make my knees get worse and lead to replacement. Maybe the doctor is looking for some new patients.

  4. I agree completely with the previous 2 comments. I ran when I was in my 20s and 30s, and ultimately got shin splints from running on a hard surface. Now, anytime I run … even a few yards, the shin splints come painfully back.
    Walking, because it is far less bombastic for your body, is always comfortable. You can do a power walk nearly as fast as you can jog. Also with walking, I get my heart rate up as fast as it should go for my age, which is over 65.

  5. Thanks for the info. I am 60 yrs old and have not run more than a block in my entire life. However, I just started playing pickle ball, and this has motivated me to start running a little. This has been great for my stamina and waistline. I can walk 18 holes of golf again with no problem. I am going to continue to increase my distance as I grow stronger. Thank you for the encouragement.

  6. Running isn’t the problem, its running improperly. People often assume running is bad for you but it’s not if you learn the appropriate way. Just as if it would be a bad idea to take up golf and just swing how you want to swing (without any training or coaching) the same is true for running.

Subscribe to health enews newsletter

About the Author

health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.