ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Acupuncture May Help Restore Lost Sense of Smell
Indian Spice May Thwart Liver Damage
No Verdict Yet on Grape Seed Extract vs. Breast Cancer
ANIMAL CARE
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
Varicose, Spider Veins May Be Inevitable for Some
Rheumatoid Arthritis Hits Women Harder
Put Your Best Foot Forward Next Year
CANCER
Spice Compounds May Stem Tumor Growth
Exercise Cuts Lung Cancer Risk in Ex-Smokers by 45%
Well Water Might Raise Bladder Cancer Risk
CAREGIVING
Hospital Volume Imperfect Gauge of Cancer Surgery Outcomes
With Alzheimer's, Health-Care Costs Could Triple
Critically Ill Patients Lack Vitamin D
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
Anemia Rates Down for U.S. Women and Children
Vitamins Do Older Women Little Good
COSMETIC
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
Health Tip: After Liposuction
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
DENTAL, ORAL
Scientists Find Gene for Tooth Enamel
An Oral Approach to Heart Disease
Rheumatoid Arthritis May Harm Gums
DIABETES
Doctors Urged to Screen Diabetics for Sleep Apnea
Boosting Vitamin D Can Do a Heart Good
Abnormal Heart Rhythm Boosts Death Risk for Diabetics
DIET, NUTRITION
DASH Diet Has Extra Benefits for Women's Health
Proven Strategies for Avoiding Colds and the Flu
Compound in Red Wine Fights Ravages of Age
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Pollution Particles Impair Blood Vessel Function
Greener Neighborhoods Mean Slimmer Children
Where You Live May Affect Your Cancer Diagnosis
EYE CARE, VISION
Decorative Halloween Eye Lenses May Pose Serious Risks
Certain Diabetes Drugs May Pose Eye Risk
Brain Adapts to Age-Related Eye Disease
FITNESS
Football Can Shrink Players
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
Consciousness Helps the Mind and Body Work Together
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
GENERAL HEALTH
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
Laugh and the World Understands
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
After a Stroke, Light Exercise Gets Hands, Arms Working Again
Research Shows Genetic Activity of Antioxidants
Brown Rice Tied to Better Heart Health in Study
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Plastics Chemical Tied to Aggression in Young Girls
Pool Chemicals Raise Kids Allergy, Asthma Risk
Childhood Dairy Intake Boosts Bone Health Later On
MEN'S HEALTH
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Lots of Sex May Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
MENTAL HEALTH
Reminiscing Helps Build Emotional Strength
Shop 'Til You Drop: You May Feel Better
Using the Mind to Heal the Heart
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Before Conceiving, Take Folic Acid for One Full Year
Breast-Feeding Benefits Moms and Babies
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
SENIORS
Tai Chi May Help Ward Off Knee Pain in Seniors
The Healthy Habits of Centenarians
Nighttime Urination Linked to Higher Death Rate Among Elderly
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Iodine in Prenatal Vitamins Varies Widely
Natural Childbirth Moms More Attuned to Babies' Cry
Simple Carbs Pose Heart Risk for Women
Add your Article

Run for Your Life

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Aug. 11 (HealthDay News) -- It may, in fact, be possible to outrun death -- and even the creeping ravages of time -- at least for a while.

Research spanning two decades has found that older runners live longer and suffer fewer disabilities than healthy non-runners.

And the findings probably apply to a variety of aerobic exercises, including walking, said the study authors, from Stanford University School of Medicine, whose findings are published in the Aug. 11 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

"This is telling you that being a runner, being active is going to reduce your disability, and it's going to increase your survival," said Marcia Ory, professor of social and behavioral health at the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Rural Public Health in College Station. "Late in life, you still see the benefit of vigorous activity."

In 1980, the study's lead author, Dr. James Fries, emeritus professor of medicine at Stanford, wrote a landmark paper outlining his "compression of morbidity" hypothesis. The theory held that regular exercise would compress, or reduce, the amount of time near the end of life when a person was disabled or unable to carry out the activities of daily living, such as walking, dressing and getting out of a chair.

"Illness would be compressed between later age of onset and age of death, and that paradigm was controversial, because it went against conventional wisdom and had no proof," Fries explained.

At the time, many experts believed that vigorous exercise would actually harm older individuals. And running, in particular, would result in an epidemic of joint and bone injuries.

But this new study proves otherwise.

Two hundred and eighty-four runners and 156 healthy "controls," or non-runners, in California completed annual questionnaires over a 21-year period. The participants were 50 years old or over at the beginning of the study and ran an average of about four hours a week. By the end of the study period, the participants were in their 70s or 80s or older and ran about 76 minutes a week.

At 19 years, just 15 percent of the runners had died, compared with 34 percent of the non-runners.

Also, said Fries, who is almost 70, runs 20 miles a week and plays tennis, "Running delayed the onset of disability by an average of 16 years, and that is largely a conservative number, because the control group was pretty darn healthy."

And the slew of predicted orthopedic injuries never materialized.

Surprisingly, the health gap between runners and non-runners only increased with time. "I always thought that the two curves would start to parallel each other and that eventually aging would overpower exercise," Fries said. "I think that will happen, but we can't find even a little twitch toward that gap narrowing in the present time."

Which is not to say that running is the only activity that's good for you.

"Vigorous activity has a really dramatic impact, but we can't ignore that there are also helpful benefits to people who are active at all levels, meaning those people who are just out walking" said Ory. "It's so important to be physically active your whole life, not just in your 20s or 40s, but forever."

Added Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, director of women and heart disease at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City: "Exercise is like the most potent drug. Exercise is by far the best thing you can do."

More information

Visit the U.S. National Institute on Aging for more on healthy aging.



SOURCES: James Fries, M.D., emeritus professor of medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, Calif.; Suzanne Steinbaum, D.O., director, women and heart disease, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; Marcia G. Ory, Ph.D., professor of social and behavioral health, Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Rural Public Health, College Station; Aug. 11, 2008, Archives of Internal Medicine

Last Updated: Aug. 11, 2008

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