If you're aiming to add a few more years to your lifespan, researchers suggest lacing up your running shoes and taking regular, gentle jogs a few times a week.
According to new data, men who regularly jog can add 6.2 years to their life while women can tack on 5.6 years.
Presented last week at a heart health symposium in Dublin, the preliminary findings come from the Copenhagen City Heart study, which has been monitoring the health of more than 19,000 men and women since 1976 to increase knowledge about preventing heart disease and stroke.
The research is part of the work of cardiologist Dr. Peter Schnohr, who has been investigating whether or not jogging is healthy or hazardous, due to the fact some believe it is too strenuous for ordinary middle aged people and can put unnecessary strain on the heart.
"The results of our research allow us to definitively answer the question of whether jogging is good for your health," he said, adding: "We can say with certainty that regular jogging increases longevity. The good news is that you don't actually need to do that much to reap the benefits."
How much jogging is necessary? The investigators found that between one hour and two and a half hours a week, broken down into two to three sessions, delivered the optimum benefits, especially when performed at a slow or average pace.
As for your pacing, "aim to feel a little breathless, but not very breathless," Schnohr added.
Aerobic activities such as jogging were also found to be better than resistance training for reducing belly fat, which poses a serious threat to your health, researchers say.
Maintaining aerobic fitness through middle age and beyond has also been found to delay your biological aging by up to 12 years and prolong independence during old age, according to a study a few years ago published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.