Too Much Running Over the Long Term Can Be Bad for Your Health

Too much of a good thing can be harmful and that includes exercising. A 12-year study found people who did strenuous workouts died at the same rate as couch potatoes.

Too much of a good thing can be harmful and that includes exercising. Nathan Collins from Pacific Standard summarized a 12-year study that found people who did strenuous workouts died at the same rate as couch potatoes. Don't lose heart, though. Exercise is still good for you — just in moderation.


The study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, reports that participants who engaged in light exercise were more likely to outlast those who ran longest and most often.

From 2001 to 2012, Peter Schnohr of the Copenhagen City Heart Study oversaw a long-running survey of 1,511 participants. The researchers asked participants how often they ran, for how long, and measured the intensity at which they ran. They then combined these data points into a single number to gauge the participants' exercise intensity. For instance, those who ran fewer than 150 minutes in a week and at a slow or average pace were considered “light joggers.” Whereas those who ran more than 150 minutes each week and at a fast pace were “strenuous joggers.”

The results showed that light joggers were less likely to die over the course of the 12-year study. 

The authors offered some explanation for the surprising find:

"[Strenuous] jogging corresponds to very heavy vigorous exercise ... which when performed for decades could pose health risks."

The health benefits of running can't be discounted, though, even for the elderly. It's just important to do these things in moderation.

Read more at Pacific Standard.

Photo Credit: Warren Goldswain /Shutterstock

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