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To the Editor, I read with amazement the recent editorial by Drs O'Keefe and Lavie entitled ‘Run for your life … at a comfortable speed and not too far’.1 In that, the authors conclude, ‘(…) running too fast, too far, and for too many years may speed one's progress towards the finish line of life’. Yet, the authors provide no evidence that is published in a peer-reviewed journal supporting this sweeping claim. Instead, their conclusion is mostly based on two unpublished studies, in one of which Dr Lavie is the senior author. The published studies that they quote2 ,3 show just the opposite. Indeed, figure 1 of their editorial demonstrates that running faster, at least up to 45 min/day, and longer at light to moderate intensity, up to at least 110 min/day, offers significantly increased survival benefit when compared with running at ‘a comfortable speed and not too far’. In fact, according to figure 1,1 vigorous daily exercise for 45 min offers more than twice the survival benefit than an equivalent amount of light to moderate exercise. One possible explanation for the U-shaped curve observed by Lavie and colleagues4 is that the authors adjust for body mass index, hypertension and hypercholesterolaemia. Running has been shown to lower those risk factors in a dose-dependent fashion with no sign of negative returns until at least 50 miles/week.5 Arguably, adjusting for all these factors is akin to adjusting for low-density lipoprotein (LDL) values in a study analysing the survival benefit of taking statins to treat hypercholesterolaemia. Put simply, this editorial represents a selective interpretation of the available data, at the best.
Contributors TW wrote this correspondence and is responsible for its content.
Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.