Are you a runner? Then you’re about to feel good about yourself.
Not a runner? After you read this you may just consider lacing up some running shoes, and don’t worry, you won’t have to go and run a marathon.
A new study published this week in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology shows that people who ran or jogged for as little as five minutes got an additional three years added to their life. Not only that, but the runners decreased their chance of premature death by almost one-third.
The study was intended to look at long-term effects of running on mortality. Maybe not so surprising, given that we know that physical activity is good for the heart, those who ran were 45% less likely to die on account of a cardiovascular disease.
How do you go about doing such a study? The researchers looked at more than 55,000 adults and assessed their exercise habits. The people were monitored for six to eight years. The researchers concluded that “Running, even 5 to 10 min/day and at slow speeds <6 miles/h, is associated with markedly reduced risks of death from all causes and cardiovascular disease. This study may motivate healthy but sedentary individuals to begin and continue running for substantial and attainable mortality benefits.”
What’s interesting about the study is that “the mortality benefits in runners were similar across quintiles of running time, distance, frequency, amount, and speed, compared with nonrunners.” That means that even running just a little bit can bring about benefits, which is good for those of you who have struggled with getting on the running train.
“Because time is one of the strongest barriers to participate in physical activity, this study may motivate more people to start running and continue to run as an attainable health goal for mortality benefits,” wrote the authors of the study.
It’s not the first study to show that minimal amounts of exercise can have a positive effect on your life expectancy. One study in Taiwan found that 15 minutes of physical activity per day had a 14% reduced risk of all-cause mortality, and a study last fall showed that exercise may in fact match medication when it comes to matching the reduction of fatalities from cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.
A couple of years ago, research was presented at the American College of Sports Medicine in San Francisco, which showed that when it came to exercising, moderation was in fact the sweet spot. “We can say with certainty that regular jogging increases longevity,” Dr. Peter Schnorr, a cardiologist and an author of that study, told the New York Times.
Which means that if you’re someone who doesn’t love exercise, you can be happy to know that you don’t need to go overboard to get the extra benefits. After all, we could all probably be a little more active.
Photo Credit: Timothy Takemoto