It’s easy to brush off headlines about studies claiming that some obscure Amazonian wonder fruit, exercise trend, regionally themed diet or combination of the above holds the key to vibrant health far into our senior years.

And then there are those other blips of research-based news that can be ignored, thanks to the human brain’s formidable powers of denial — e.g., “Chocolate: Not as Great for You as We Said It Was Last Week,” and so on.

However, new findings based on apparently well-vetted information sourced to the Journal of the American College of Cardiology could throw some running enthusiasts off their chosen path. The BBC brought word Tuesday of the results of a Danish study that could bring our runner’s high crashing down:

Scientists studied more than 1,000 healthy joggers and non-joggers over a 12-year period.

Those who jogged at a steady pace for less than two and a half hours a week were least likely to die in this time.

But those who ran more than four hours a week or did no exercise had the highest death rates.

[…] Analysing questionnaires filled out by all the people in the Danish study, scientists concluded the ideal pace was about 5mph (8km/h) and that it was best to jog no more than three times a week or for 2.5 hours in total.

People who jogged more intensively – particularly those who jogged more than three times a week or at a pace of more than 7mph – were as likely to die as those who did no exercise.

This is all getting very confusing. The problem, according to the study, has to do with the effects on the heart of too much heavy exercise: “Long-term strenuous endurance exercise may induce pathological structural remodelling of the heart and arteries.”

That’s not to say that staying sedentary and betting on chocolate’s life-enhancing properties is the answer: Experts apparently still recommend less-intense exercise for shorter durations as a reliable route to maintaining good health.

–Posted by Kasia Anderson

Wait, before you go…

If you're reading this, you probably already know that non-profit, independent journalism is under threat worldwide. Independent news sites are overshadowed by larger heavily funded mainstream media that inundate us with hype and noise that barely scratch the surface. We believe that our readers deserve to know the full story. Truthdig writers bravely dig beneath the headlines to give you thought-provoking, investigative reporting and analysis that tells you what’s really happening and who’s rolling up their sleeves to do something about it.

Like you, we believe a well-informed public that doesn’t have blind faith in the status quo can help change the world. Your contribution of as little as $5 monthly or $35 annually will make you a groundbreaking member and lays the foundation of our work.

Support Truthdig