6 Years Longer!

That’s what a new Danish study has concluded. Actually, it’s 6.2 years for men and 5.8 years for women—the number of years a jogger will live longer than a non-jogger. Six years! I have a friend who has sworn off jogging. He quips, “If you want pain in the morning, just get out of bed and stick your fingers in your eyes—that should do it!” But the Copenhagen Heart Study that began back in 1976 just last week announced these startling findings. Peter Schnohr, chief cardiologist with this study, said in a news release from the European Society of Cardiology:  “The results of our research allow us to definitively answer the question of whether jogging is good for your health. 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” (http://health.yahoo.net/news/s/hsn/joggers-live-longer-study-says). Three cheers for all of us who have been plodding away early morning after early morning! But it isn’t my point in this blog to gloat at all. Rather on this weekend that Andrews University is hosting Health and Fitness Symposium 2012, my point is simply that extending your life six years turns out to be a rather simple and uncomplicated proposition. The report notes that “jogging at a slow pace for one to two and a half hours weekly provided the most significant benefits.” Why that’s only 30 minutes a day three to five days a week. That isn’t too high a price for an extra six years of life, is it? And look at the health payoff: “The study's authors noted there are several health benefits of jogging that contribute to increased life expectancy, including improvements in: oxygen uptake; insulin sensitivity; lipid profiles (raising ‘good; HDL cholesterol and lowering triglycerides); heart function; bone density; immune function; psychological function. The improved psychological well-being may be due to the fact that people have more social interactions when they're out jogging, explained Schnohr. The researchers added that jogging also helps lower blood pressure, reduce platelet aggregation and prevent obesity” (ibid). All of that plus six more years—what a payoff! Is there a verse in the Bible that commands jogging? No, but there’s one that surely commends it: “Those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength—they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31). As it turns out, that’s the motto of our Pioneer Running/Walking Club that Christine Wallace launched several years ago. Today we all proudly wear our T-shirts with motto and logo emblazoned on them. And today we bid farewell to Christine and Ryan (two top-flight runners and one tri-athlete [Christine]) and their daughters, Faith and Grace, as they head north to Canada for medical and law school. Speaking of health and fitness, they have blessed our congregation and campus in multiple ways through their contagious advocacy of healthy living. So if you’ve been sitting on the couch and wondering if it’s really worth a simple exercise program, now you know—it’s worth an extra six years of life. So get on up. And go on out. A springtime world of fresh air is waiting for you. And as I’ve discovered in my early morning jogs, Jesus is so big on it He’ll jog along right beside you. And that’s one benefit not even the Copenhagen study can top!

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