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Men Who Frequently Engage in Aerobic Exercise Live Longer, According to a Study

Because of its impact on longevity, the results of a review of the medical records of the first 200 men to finish a sub-4-minute mile have implications for long-term, frequent, high-intensity aerobic exercise recommendations, according to a news release from the authors.

The research of 200 male runners born between 1928 and 1955 in the United States, Britain, Australia, France, New Zealand, and other countries was published on Thursday in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. The sportsmen enjoyed long lives, with the majority still alive.

According to Professor Mark Haykowsky, who holds the Research Chair in Aging and Quality of Life at the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Alberta in Canada, the men’s lifespan proved the critical necessity of aerobic fitness.

“Breaking the 4-minute mile was an extraordinary achievement 70 years ago and revealed just what the human body can achieve. It set off a wave of runners following in Sir Roger’s mighty footsteps.”

“Remarkably, we found that like Sir Roger, who lived to the ripe old age of 88, most of the first runners also lived well into their 70s, 80s, and a majority are alive and healthy today,”

Professor Andre La Gerche, an Australian sports cardiologist who oversees the Heart Exercise and Research Trials Lab in Melbourne, stated that scientists thought the study subjects’ longer lifespans were due to their enlarged hearts.

“Our study set out to see how exercise affected elite athletes over the long term,” La Gerche explained. “We know that elite athletes have bigger hearts due to their sustained aerobic output and there was some belief that this could affect their health and longevity, but we found the opposite.”

“Five years of extra life compared to average is very significant, especially when we found that many of these runners not only enjoyed long lives, but were also healthy.”

“Not everyone needs to be able to run a sub-4-minute mile to enjoy good health long into old age, but they need to exercise regularly and push themselves aerobically.”

Bannister’s 3:59.40 time was only good for 46 days before Moroccan Hicham El Guerrouj’s unbroken 3:43.13 record, established in Rome in 1999, surpassed it by about 16 seconds.

The fastest times in Australia and Canada are 3.47.48 and 3.50.26, respectively, set by Ollie Hoare and Kevin Sullivan at the annual Bislett Games in Oslo, Norway.

There hasn’t been a female runner to break the 4-minute mile mark yet; Faith Kipyegon of Kenya presently holds the world record with a time of 4:07.64, set in Monaco in July.

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