Jogging more than three times a week is as bad for health as not jogging at all, according to researchers.
Their findings suggest jogging for between one and two-and-a-half hours a week could be the answer to living longer.
Researchers from Frederiksberg Hospital in Copenhagen followed 1,098 healthy joggers and 3,950 non joggers to investigate how different running habits affected their long-term health.
The study, which was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, looked at frequency of running, hours jogged and individual pace.
It found participants were more likely to live longer if they jogged two to three times a week – or between one and 2.4 hours a week.
“Strenuous joggers have a mortality rate not statistically different from that of the sedentary group”
The study authors said their findings suggested a “u-shaped association between all-cause mortality and dose of jogging as calibrated by pace, quantity, and frequency of jogging”.
“Light and moderate joggers have lower mortality than sedentary non-joggers, whereas strenuous joggers have a mortality rate not statistically different from that of the sedentary group,” they said.
Maureen Talbot, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: “This study shows that you don’t have to run marathons to keep your heart healthy.
“Light and moderate jogging was found to be more beneficial than being inactive or undertaking strenuous jogging, possibly adding years to your life,” she said.
“National guidelines recommend we do 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week,” she added.