Running Just 5 Minutes a Day Can Help You Live Longer
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Less could be more when it comes to the healthy-heart rewards of running: A new study has found that people who ran just 50 minutes or less per week received the same benefit — three extra years of life — as those who ran more than three hours weekly.
“This study encourages inactive people to participate in more physical activity including running,” Dr. D.C. Lee, lead researcher and assistant professor of kinesiology at Iowa State University, told Yahoo Health. He noted that the two big surprises of the study, published Monday in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, were that “we can get significant mortality benefits by running even 30 to 60 minutes per week, which is below the recommendations by the World Health Organization and the US government,” and also that the benefits matched those of the longer-distance runners. Though Lee cautioned that more studies are still needed to determine the most optimal amount of running for different populations, he said, “It is true that even little is better than none.”
Compared with non-runners, all the runners had a 30 percent lower risk of death in general and a 45 percent lower risk of death from heart disease or stroke. Runners on average lived three years longer compared to non-runners. The benefits were the same no matter how long, far, frequently or fast people ran.
Also, regarding running behavior patterns, researchers found that people who ran consistently over a period of six years had, on average, the most significant benefits — including a 29 percent lower risk of death in general and a 50 percent lower risk of death from heart disease or stroke.
For the study, Lee and six other researchers sought evidence of a relationship between running and longevity by examining data from a survey-based study called the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study. The study included details on 55,137 adults between the ages of 18 and 100 (mean age of 44) from a 15-year period, with 24 percent of participants noting running as part of their exercise routine. Within the study period, 3,413 participants died, including 1,217 whose deaths were related to cardiovascular disease.