A Sailor aboard USNS Spearhead (JHSV 1) jogs across the ship’s flight deck, Jan. 1, 2015. Photo Credit: Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet | Flickr

A moderate amount of jogging is the healthiest option if you want to live longer, according to a new Danish study.

Cardiovascular researcher Peter Schnohr at Copenhagen University has been studying the effects of jogging and the resulting study was recently published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

The study called Dose of Jogging and Long-Term Mortality used data gathered via the large cohort study called The Copenhagen City Heart Study. It began in 1976 already and has since been following around 20,000 men and women aged between 20 and 93. This large longitudinal survey has resulted in more that 750 published articles.

Peter Schnohr sorted out and followed a total of 1,511 people over a 12 year period. These consisted of 1,098 healthy joggers and a control group of 413 healthy but sedentary people. The data consisted of how often each study participant ran, how long, and how fast.

Forest plot indicating all-cause mortality in light, moderate, and strenuous joggers compared with sedentary nonjoggers. Credit: Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 65 (2015) 411-419. doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2014.11.023

It turned out that the joggers who ran the most and the fastest – was just as likely to die as those who had not jogged at all. Vigorous running (defined as faster than 11.3 km per hour) more than 2.4 hours a week, more than three times a week, is almost as harmful as sitting around and doing nothing.

The data indicates that 1 to 2.4 hours of jogging per week and a maximum of three times a week is the best option for health. For those who ran 1 hour to 2.4 hours a week, the risk of dying was 71 percent lower than for those who didn’t exercise at all.

Peter Schnohr writes in a statement; “If your goal is to reduce the risk of dying prematurely and increase the expected life span, it is to jog a few times a week at moderate speed a good strategy. More than that is not only unnecessary, it can even be harmful.”

Dose of Jogging and Long-Term Mortality