Fitness plays a critical role in brain health, with several risk factors for heart disease also linked to cognitive decline.

London - Jogging for just an hour a week can increase your life expectancy by around six years, reveal scientists.

Even better news is that a gentle jog is better for you than any sort of extreme workout.

Researchers found that jogging at a slow or average pace for one or two hours a week can increase the life expectancy of men by 6.2 years and women by 5.6 years, reducing the risk of death by 44 percent.

The results challenge previous studies into jogging which questioned whether it is healthy or hazardous, with the debate kicking off in the 70s when middle-aged men began taking an interest in the exercise.

However, following the death of a few men who died while out on a run, the media suggested jogging might be too strenuous for middle-aged people, casting doubts over the pastime.

As part of the Copenhagen City Heart study, a cardiovascular study of about 20 000 men and women aged between 20 and 93, researchers set about quashing previous suggestions that jogging was bad for people’s health.

The study has so far resulted in more than 750 papers, and has previously explored associations for longevity with different forms of exercise and other factors.

Researchers believe jogging delivers multiple benefits, such as improving oxygen uptake, lowering blood pressure, preventing obesity, improving cardiac function and improving psychological function.

Dr Peter Schnohr, of the Bispebjerg University Hospital, said: “The improved psychological wellbeing may be down to fact that people have more social interactions when they’re out jogging.” – Daily Mail