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Ideal amount of running for max longevity


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I am currently running 3 miles per day, 5 or 6 days a week.  I was just reading through an older version of Dr. Walford's "The 120 Year Diet".  He suggests that 15 miles per week, is the ideal amount of running, with the goal of max longevity.  He also mentions an experiment with 4 groups of mice.  Group1 - fed ad-lib, no exercise.  Group2 - fed ad-lib, exercised.  Group3 - cal restricted, no exercise.  Group4 - cal restricted, exercised.  Group2 outlived Group1.  Group3 and Group4 both outlived Group2.  BUT Group3 (no exer) outlived Group4 (exer).


I am already following a 1600-cal/day vegan starch-based diet, eating one meal a day.  I am 5'11", 130 lbs.  I am thinking about reducing my miles per week from 15-18 to around 10-12.


Any thoughts?  Thanks.

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Hi Barry, welcome and I'm a newbie here but I'd tend to agree to reduce running as you say and substitute some weightlifting. It seems that hi-intensity resistance training is good for longevity, maybe more than running. Valter Longo reccomends repetitions at 60-70% of your maximum load (single-rep lifting). Beware not to injure yourself though, loads can be increased at a very slow rate.


By the way, I considered myself thin but you guys here make me feel like an elephant or so, with my 22.5 present BMI. But I have no intention to decrease it, rather to increase it. After many years of forced inactivity, I resumed weightlifting and it was evident I suffered a marked loss of strength and maybe the beginning of some weakening of bones and cartilages. I just hated it.


I also used to run but knees started to ache, I'm running on an elliptical bike now. 10-20 minutes a day.

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"Ideal amount of running for max longevity"


I'd say ideal distance/endurance running = zero.

Ideal sprinting/HIIT running = 60 seconds a day (optionally broken up into six 10 second sets).


Dr. Walford died at age 79 by the way...

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Michael addressed the question at the top of this thread in 2015 in the "Latest Bloodwork" thread discussing Dean's results and lifestyle:


As you may know, there's significant evidence of an "inverted-U" dose-response curve on exercise,(eg. (1-5)) with very vigorous and/or long-drawn-out (marathon-type) exercise being no worse than a sedentary lifestyle, but not as favorable as a more moderate regime.

0: Fontana L, Weiss EP, Villareal DT, Klein S, Holloszy JO. Long-term effects of calorie or protein restriction on serum IGF-1 and IGFBP-3 concentration in humans. Aging Cell. 2008 Oct;7(5):681-7. PubMed PMID: 18843793; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2673798.

1: Schnohr P, O'Keefe JH, Marott JL, Lange P, Jensen GB. Dose of jogging and long-term mortality: the Copenhagen City Heart Study. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2015 Feb 10;65(5):411-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2014.11.023. PubMed PMID: 25660917.

2: Armstrong ME, Green J, Reeves GK, Beral V, Cairns BJ; Million Women Study Collaborators. Frequent physical activity may not reduce vascular disease risk as much as moderate activity: large prospective study of women in the United Kingdom. Circulation. 2015 Feb 24;131(8):721-9. doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.114.010296. Epub 2015 Feb 16. PubMed PMID: 25688148.

3: Lavie CJ, O'Keefe JH, Sallis RE. Exercise and the heart--the harm of too little and too much. Curr Sports Med Rep. 2015 Mar-Apr;14(2):104-9. doi: 10.1249/JSR.0000000000000134. PubMed PMID: 25757005.

4: O'Keefe JH, Franklin B, Lavie CJ. Exercising for health and longevity vs peak performance: different regimens for different goals. Mayo Clin Proc. 2014 Sep;89(9):1171-5. doi: 10.1016/j.mayocp.2014.07.007. Epub 2014 Aug 12. PubMed PMID: 25128073.

5: Guasch E, Benito B, Qi X, Cifelli C, Naud P, Shi Y, Mighiu A, Tardif JC, Tadevosyan A, Chen Y, Gillis MA, Iwasaki YK, Dobrev D, Mont L, Heximer S, Nattel S. Atrial fibrillation promotion by endurance exercise: demonstration and mechanistic exploration in an animal model. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2013 Jul 2;62(1):68-77. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2013.01.091. Epub 2013 Apr 10. PubMed PMID: 23583240.


Dean also posted in that thread a link to this

 titled "Run for your life! At a comfortable pace, and not too far".



I try to run at least 10mi/week but not more than 15-20mi.


I try to get my HR up to 160+ for at least 5min/week and 150+ for at least 20min/week, but I don't generally exceed these HR thresholds for more than 20 and 60 min/week respectively. (Age 46. Resting HR ~46. MaxHR estimate ~176 based on one of the slightly more accurate formulas of 206.9-0.67*age.)

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