The Smart Runner’s Guide to Living Longer

Run, Forest, Run!” is a famous line in the Forrest Gump movie by the young Jenny Curran, played by Hanna R. Hall. It has been nearly 28 years since this film, Forrest Gump (a.k.a Tom Hanks), who was sitting on that famous bench, entered theaters-and the hearts of many. Forrest was born with a twisted back and so his doctor prescribed that he wear leg braces. Nonetheless, his mother instilled that Forrest is no different from anyone. Then, one day, when he is attacked by school bullies, his brace support falls off, and he discovers that he can run swiftly. This skill led him to be part of the high school football team and earned him a university scholarship. Then, he joins the US Army and is sent to Vietnam. After Jenny, his childhood sweetheart declined his marriage proposal, he spent the next three and a half years running across the country for no logical reasons…

And so we stop the movie right there…

Logically, there was a pearl of practical wisdom in Forrest’s running at full speed away from the bullies, for it literally implied that one could overcome any limitations. But, in fact, research proves that apart from such a message from the movie, running can add more value to life by prolonging it.

What do the experts say about running?

According to World Health Organization, 6% of premature mortality is caused by physical inactivity. People keep themselves healthy to enjoy life longer, pursue their career, and enjoy it with their families while at their peak health. Also, other studies found that running reduces the development of cancer and neurologic disorders ( like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s (Tello, 2017). Many people opt to remain active. One of these is running, a popular form of exercise. Experts revealed that running contributes to about a 25%-40% reduction in the risk of premature mortality. The study of Lee et al suggests that one can live approximately 3 years longer than non-runners by RUNNING:

  • Less than or equal to 4.5 hours per week
  • Less than or equal to 30 miles per week
  • Less than or equal to 6 times a week

However, these thresholds should be carefully scrutinized since most results exclusively came from mostly Western populations only. Studies are yet to be conducted to gather results from other cohorts. Also, running may not be the best exercise for everyone due to the limiting medical conditions of some people.

The lesser our physical activity, the higher our risk of death from just about any cause. Tello mentioned that idleness is the fourth leading cause of worldwide deaths, at 9%, after smoking, diabetes, and high blood pressure.

So, do you want to live longer?

Then, keep those running shoes ready, lace up and get out there! Or, at least find something that you enjoy and get rolling, Forrest!

There are upcoming races in Vancouver, and you might want to join as a runner or a volunteer. You can check these out:

  • BMO Vancouver Marathon:
  • Social Run Club:
  • Vancouver International Marathon Society RUNVAN:


Daniels, L. (n.d.). The benefits of exercise for your physical and mental health. Medical and

health information.

Lee, D., Brellenthin, A. G., Thompson, P. D., Sui, X., Lee, I., & Lavie, C. J. (2017). Running as

a key lifestyle medicine for longevity. Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases, 60(1), 45-55.

Tello, M. (2017, May 24). Run for your (long) life. Harvard Health. Retrieved March 28, 2022,


Watson, T. (2019, February 11). 7 habits of highly effective runners. Marathon Handbook.

Retrieved March 28, 2022, from

WebMD Editorial Contributors. (2021, April 7). Health benefits of running. WebMD.

World Health Organization. (2020, November 26). Physical activity. WHO | World Health


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About the Author:

Michelle Bautista has been a travel and tourism professional turned educator for over ten years. Currently, she is on leave as Associate Professor at the Far Eastern University in the Philippines. At present, Michelle is pursuing a Hotel and Restaurant Management Diploma at Cloud Nine College for professional development, furthering her international exposure. She is passionate about lifelong learning and continuously explores her interests in internship assessment and the future of work.