Study Finds Running Lowers Risk of Death Even at Less-Intense Levels

It has been well-established that exercise offers immense benefits to a person’s health, particularly to cardiovascular fitness. Of the numerous exercises available, running for at least 75 minutes per week at a vigorous-intensity level has been known to be very effective, based on the recommendations of government health authorities and the World Health Organizations (WHO). It would now appear that the same benefits may be derived with running for only a few minutes and at slow speeds, according to the results of a study that was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study

With the objective of determining the relationship between running and longevity, a clinical trial was carried out by researchers under the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study. The research team gathered information on 55,137 adults between the ages of 18 and 100 years over a period of 15 years. These participants were asked to complete a questionnaire about their running habits and their health.

Reduced Risk of Death from Cardiovascular Diseases

After the evaluation of the data gathered, it was shown that when compared to non-runners, those who engage in running has a 30 percent lower risk of death from all causes and a 45 percent lower risk of death from heart disease or stroke. On an average, runners lived three years longer than non-runners. It was found that the benefits were the same no matter the duration, frequency, and intensity of the running. These results were the same regardless of age, sex, body mass index (BMI), health conditions, smoking status or alcohol use.

According to Dr. Duck-chul Lee, an assistant professor at the Iowa State University Kinesiology Department in Ames, Iowa and the lead author of the study, the benefits were enjoyed by participants even if they ran less than 51 minutes, fewer than six miles, slower than six miles per hour, or one or two times per week. This means that runners who ran less than an hour a week and at a less intense level got the same benefits as runners who ran more than three hours per week.

Significance of Study

The outcome of this study is very significant since this may be used to motivate inactive people to engage in running for health purposes. In the past, people avoided running due what they perceived as a daunting task in terms of time required and intensity. But now, one can reap huge benefits by just a few minutes a day at a only at a moderate level.