Horrible Breaking News: Running Can Help You Live Longer

I would rather hug a stranger than go on a run. But facts are facts. FML.

May 4, 2012 at 4:00pm | Leave a comment

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Dressed for running. Just not, you know, ACTUALLY running.

In life, there are a lot of things I don’t like doing. But just how much I don’t enjoy them can only be truly measured by one factor. Would I rather do X or would I rather go on a run?

The following is a (very abbreviated) list of things I don’t enjoy even for a second, but will always pick over jogging:

  • Hand-washing my delicates
  • Stubbing my toe
  • Chopping garlic
  • Listening to “A Prairie Home Companion”
  • Picking up dog poop
  • Watching TV with commercials
  • Letting a dude sleep over
  • Talking about my feelings

I think you get it: I’m not into running. Which, I’ll be honest, really bugs me. I mean, is there any easier way to get exercise than to go on a run? All you have to do is put on the shoes, leave the house, and then, well: RUN. It is literally the most straighforward way to get exercise that I can think of. There’s no drive to the gym. There’s no equipment. There’s no membership fee. All you have to do is just move your legs in a way that is faster than walking. (And yes, I’m pretty sure “move your legs in a way that is faster than walking” is the actual technical definition of running.)

Occasionally, I’ll decide I’m going to get into running. I use “Get Running,” the couch to 5K app that uses a human voice to coach you into running 5K in nine weeks, even if your idea of exercise is doing table-to-mouth beer bottle repetitions all night. (You can listen to music; she just interrupts occasionally.) I’ve started three times. I’ve never gotten past Week Two.

In all honesty, it’s not even that running is so horrible. It’s that I’m so good at making awesome excuses. Like, “It’s dark out.” Or, “I’m drunk.”

Unfortunately for me and all of the other non-runners out there, I have some really bad news. Believe me, I don't want to be the one to have to tell you this, but, well: scientists just figured out that jogging can add over five years to your life. And you only have to do it for two hours a week (over two-three sessions). 104 hours a year of jogging in order to get almost 50,000 additional life hours. That’s a lot of books, concerts, days on the mountain, glasses of wine, sex, naps that you’ll totally miss out on otherwise.

Sigh.

Oh, it gets worse. A LOT WORSE. Because not only can you add five years to your life, jogging also has other benefits. According to the people at the Copenhagen City Heart Study, “it improves oxygen uptake, increases insulin sensitivity, improves lipid profiles (raising HDL and lowering triglycerides), lowers blood pressure, reduces platelet aggregation, increases fibrinolytic activity, improves cardiac function, bone density, immune function, reduces inflammation markers, prevents obesity, and improves psychological function.”

And I’m pretty sure it helps you lose weight if that’s a thing you’re into. (And yes, that’s a thing I’m into; sorry, but like a lot of people, I could stand to lose 10 pounds and I’m not going to pretend otherwise. Fact.)

So yeah, it’s good for your heart, good for your bones, good for your physique, good for your mental state AND it can help you live an extra five years. 

Which UGH means I think I’m going to have to start jogging. Which I’ll TOTALLY do. Right after I finish this beer.