ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
New Spray Could Benefit Cystic Fibrosis Patients
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Awareness of Alternative Therapies May Be Lacking
Acupuncture Eases Side Effects of Head, Neck Cancer Treatments
Pain-Relieving Powers of Acupuncture Unclear
ANIMAL CARE
Safe Toys for Dogs
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Too Few Screened for Abdominal Aneurysm, Study Says
Rheumatoid Arthritis Rising Among U.S. Women
Fall Sports Peak Time for Lower Leg Damage
CANCER
To Quit Smoking, Try Logging On
Poor Women Seem to Be Skipping Breast Cancer Drugs
Vitamin D May Lower Colon Cancer Risk
CAREGIVING
Preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome
Newborn Screenings Now Required Across U.S.
Child's Food Allergies Take Toll on Family Plans
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Secondhand Smoke Quickly Affects Blood Vessels
A Brisk Pace May Keep Stroke at Bay
Firefighters Have Narrower-Than-Normal Arteries, Study Finds
COSMETIC
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
DENTAL, ORAL
Amino Acid May Be Key to Strong Teeth
Gum Disease May Reactivate AIDS Virus
Study Links Osteoporosis Drugs to Jaw Trouble
DIABETES
Drug May Not Help Diabetes-Related Eye Damage
Formula Puts Doctor, Patient Glucose Readings on Same Page
Arthritis Hits More Than Half of Diabetics
DIET, NUTRITION
Mediterranean Diet Enriched With Nuts Cuts Heart Risks
More Educated Choose Healthier Foods, But Pay More
Regular Yoga May Improve Eating Habits
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Controversial Chemical Lingers Longer in the Body
Green Areas Lower Health Inequities Between Rich, Poor
Dementia Underestimated in Developing Countries
EYE CARE, VISION
Certain Diabetes Drugs May Pose Eye Risk
Kids Think Glasses Make Others Look Smart, Honest
Florida Vision Test Law: Fewer Traffic Deaths Among Elderly
FITNESS
MRSA Infections Can Bug Fitness Buffs
Living With Less TV, More Sweat Boosts Weight Loss
Walk Long, Slow and Often to Help the Heart
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
GENERAL HEALTH
Fructose Boosts Blood Pressure, Studies Find
Be Healthy, Spend Less
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
More Steps a Day Lead to Better Health
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
Relaxation Tapes or Mozart Lower Blood Pressure
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
Don't Leave Your Kids In The Car !
Folic Acid Reduces Infant Heart Defects
MEN'S HEALTH
The Dark Side of Vegetarianism
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
MENTAL HEALTH
Daily dose of beet juice promotes brain health in older adults
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Love Hormone May Ease Discussion of Painful Topics
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
Yoga's Benefits Outweigh Risks for Pregnant Women
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
SENIORS
Community Exercise Programs Boost Seniors' Strength
The Healthy Habits of Centenarians
For a Healthier Retirement, Work a Little
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Steady Weight Gain Boosts Late-Life Breast Cancer Risk
Health Tip: Be More Comfortable During Childbirth
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
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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