You Can Run a Little or a Lot, but Don’t Hide

Posted by in Health and Fitness.

running and health

Studies show that running has a strong link to overall health. But don’t worry about keeping up in a marathon. Just a little jog can go a long way.

As the saying goes, “No pain, no gain.” But running can get very painful for those of us with tender feet and aching knees. And according to new research published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, there isn’t that much to be gained from running after a certain point.

The study looked at 55,137 adults from 18 to 100 and mapped their lifestyle habits to their health after following up 15 years later.

The connection between running and overall health was clear:

Compared with nonrunners, runners had 30% and 45% lower adjusted risks of all-cause and cardiovascular mortality, respectively, with a 3-year life expectancy benefit.

However, the surprising finding is that it doesn’t seem to matter how long you run, how often you run, or how fast you run, as long as you run a little bit each day. The health benefits level off rather quickly:

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.

In other words, marathons are overrated. Notice how stable the mortality rates become once a person runs at all in the chart below:

American College of Cardiology Foundation   Journal of the American College of Cardiology   Leisure-Time Running Reduces All-Cau

 

The takeaway seems to be that avoiding a sedentary lifestyle is the most important thing. Unless you are a competitive runner, you don’t need to worry about how hard you are pushing yourself. The health benefits of running are available to everyone who simply gets out there and enjoys themselves.

And don’t forget that if running is too hard on the joints, you can always go for a walk.

 

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