Forget about running marathons, according to a new study any amount of running is good. And the best part is that it doesn’t matter how many hours your run for, how fast or far you run – all running has been linked to a similar reduction in the risk of early death.
Sedentary lifestyles have been linked to over 3 million deaths each year according to the World Health Organization.
The study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that if more people took up running, there would likely be substantial improvements in population health and longevity.“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,” the authors of the study write.
The research looked at the association between running and jogging and the risk of death from all causes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.
They analysed 14 suitable studies, which involved 232,149 people, whose health had been tracked for between 5.5 and 35 years. During this time, 25,951 of the study participants died.
When the study data were pooled, any amount of running was associated with a 27% lower risk of death from all causes for both sexes, compared with no running. And it was associated with a 30% lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, and a 23% lower risk of death from cancer.
You don’t have to run far or for long to reap the benefits
If the thought of hitting the pavement or the treadmill for hours puts you off taking up running, the study found that even small doses – such as running once a week for less than 50 minutes and at a speed below 8 kilometres an hour – had the same health benefits.
The study also found that upping the amount of time spent running wasn’t associated with a further lowering of risk of early death.
“Increased rates of participation in running, regardless of its dose, would probably lead to substantial improvements in population health and longevity,” the authors of the study concluded.