ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
Know Your Asthma Triggers
Herbal Remedy Could Halt Peanut Allergy
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Meditation, Yoga Might Switch Off Stress Genes
U.S. Spends Billions On Alternative Medicine
Supplement Hampers Thyroid Cancer Treatment
ANIMAL CARE
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Beware of Dog Bites
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
BONES & JOINTS
Gene Plays Key Role in Clubfoot
Sea Worm Inspires Novel Bone Glue
For All Their Plusses, Pets Pose a Risk for Falls, Too
CANCER
Family History Key Player in Brain Cancer Risk
Women Smokers Lose 14.5 Years Off Life Span
Many Ignore Symptoms of Bladder Trouble
CAREGIVING
Hospital Practices Influence Which Moms Will Breast-Feed
Many Hospital Patients Can't ID Their Doctors
Robots May Come to Aging Boomers' Rescue
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Bad Marriages Harder on Women's Health
Secondhand Smoke Quickly Affects Blood Vessels
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
COSMETIC
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
DENTAL, ORAL
Hormones May Be to Blame for Women's Cavity Rates
Study Links Osteoporosis Drugs to Jaw Trouble
Periodontal Disease Impacts Whole Health
DIABETES
Americans Consuming More Sugary Beverages
Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes Updated
Laughter May Lower Heart Attack Risk in Diabetics
DIET, NUTRITION
More Calcium And Dairy Products in Childhood Could Mean Longer Life
For Fitness, Cutting Calories May Not Be Enough
Coffee Beans May Be Newest Stress-Buster
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Green Areas Lower Health Inequities Between Rich, Poor
Restaurant Sushi May Have More Mercury Than Store-Bought Fare
Hypertension May Hit Black Males Earlier
EYE CARE, VISION
Blood Sugar Control Helps Diabetics Preserve Sight
Hybrid Cars Pose Risk to Blind, Visually Impaired
Statin Drugs Cause Eye Disorders
FITNESS
Basketball Star Details His Struggle With Gout
Fitness Fades Fast After 45
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
GENERAL HEALTH
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
Workplace Wellness Seems to Really Work
8 Drugs Doctors Would Never Take
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Ginkgo Won't Prevent Heart Attack, Stroke in Elderly
Toothbrushing May Stave Off Heart Woes
Fewer Heart Attacks After England Goes Smoke-Free
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Fussy Babys Could Be Out Of Your Control
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Folic Acid Reduces Infant Heart Defects
MEN'S HEALTH
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
Countdown to Hair Loss
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
MENTAL HEALTH
Brain Scans Show How Humans 'Hear' Emotion
Consciousness Helps the Mind and Body Work Together
Breast-Fed Baby May Mean Better Behaved Child
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
SENIORS
Fitness Fades Fast After 45
Exercise Helps Reduce Falls in Young and Old
Laughter Can Stimulate a Dull Appetite
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
WOMEN'S HEALTH
A Brisk Pace May Keep Stroke at Bay
Lifting Weights Can Ease Arm Swelling in Breast Cancer Survivors
Caffeine in Pregnancy Associated With Low Birth Weight Risk
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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