Even a Little Running Is Better Than None

By Editorial Staff

Want to live longer? It could be as easy as doing a little – yes, we mean little – running every week if you're not already doing any.

Research continues to support the longevity benefits of consistent physical activity, particularly in accordance with national guidelines. But what about running only once per week for less than 50 minutes at a reasonable pace (about 10 minutes per mile)? According to a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, you'll up your chances of living longer compared to doing no running at all.

Researchers reviewed data from 14 previous studies involving more than 232,000 adults who were tracked for a considerable amount of time, depending on the study: at least 5.5 years and as much as 35 years. Compared to adults who didn't run at all, those who did were significantly less likely to die (of any cause) during the time they were tracked. In fact, those who ran were 27 percent less likely to die of any cause, 30 percent less likely to die of cardiovascular disease and 23 percent less likely to die of cancer.

Now here's the intriguing part: The mere act of running vs. not running – independent of frequency, duration, pace or total weekly time spent – did not appear to affect the risk reduction. In other words, it didn't matter how much, how long or how fast someone ran - the mere fact that they ran made the difference in terms of longevity.

"Increased rates of participation in running, regardless of its dose, would probably lead to substantial improvements in population health and longevity," state the researchers. "Any amount of running, even just once a week, is better than no running, but higher doses of running may not necessarily be associated with greater mortality benefits."

If you're currently running (even once a week), great job! You'll reap the longevity benefits, suggests research. If you're not running at all - what are you waiting for?

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