Date
28 July 2017
Of all the various forms of exercise, running is the most effective way to prolong one's life, according to a recent study. Photo: CNSA
Of all the various forms of exercise, running is the most effective way to prolong one's life, according to a recent study. Photo: CNSA

Let’s go for a run

I came across an interesting headline in the British newspaper The Times; it says a 60-minute run can add seven hours to your life.

The report cites a study published in the medical journal Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases in March. One of its main findings is that people who run tend to live about three years longer than those who don’t.

Running could have a more significant effect in lengthening a person’s lifespan than walking and cycling.

Everyone knows running is good for the health, but little do we know exactly how beneficial it is.

With these findings, we finally get to know how the activity could improve our lives.

Running could also improve our cognitive functions, according to several other studies.

David Raichlen from University of Arizona and his team of researchers found that young adults who are also cross-country runners showed greater functional connectivity, and hence, better cognitive functions such as planning, decision-making and the ability to switch attention between tasks, compared to those who do not engage in regular physical activity.

In another study led by Simon Cooper, 44 12-year-olds were made to undergo cognitive function tests at different time intervals after some 10-second running sprints.

The experiment found that response times of the participants on the simple level of the Stroop Test were significantly quicker by 45 minutes following a sprint-based exercise while response times on the complex level of the test were quicker immediately following the sprint-based exercise.

A study by Tomas Venckunas and his team also pointed out interval running training like three 45-minute runs a week could improve runners’ cognitive flexibility.

We used to be told that once neuronal cells are damaged, they are not regenerated.

This proposition might be refuted one day, however. A study by Miriam Nokia showed that rodents made to jog on wheels had robust levels of neurogenesis, thanks to the stimulation contributed by the secretion of brain-derived neurotrophic factors.

Let’s run regularly for better health and greater cognitive functions.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on May 3

Translation by John Chui

[Chinese version 中文版]

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JC/FC/CG

Clinical psychologist

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