Runners swear by the “high” they get from exercising, but a recent study shows it may extend life expectancy by as much as seven hours per each hour of running.
The study found that runners tend to live about three years longer than non-runners, even if they run slowly or infrequently and smoke, drink or are overweight, according to The New York Times.
Scientists at Iowa State University analyzed results of large-scale recent studies to come to their conclusions.
They said running delivers more bang for the buck, statistically returning more time to people’s lives than it consumes. The authors estimated that typical runners spend less than six months running over the course of 40 years, but could expect an increase in life expectancy of 3.2 years.
The researchers found other kinds of exercise are beneficial for life expectancy, but not to the same extent. They said it is unclear why running “should be so uniquely potent against early mortality,” but it may be due to running’s positive effects against common risk factors for early death like high blood pressure and extra body fat.