Run a Few Minutes, Live a Few Years Longer

It may be the best news ever for people who hate to spend time exercising but realize how necessary it is for good heart health:

Running for as little as five or 10 minutes every day can significantly reduce the risk of death from cardiovascular disease.

And no, it’s not just wishful thinking.

It’s the scientific finding of an Iowa State University study published this week in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Researchers followed 55,000 adults for 15 years to gauge the benefits of running.

They found that runners were 45 per cent less likely to die from heart disease or stroke than non-runners.

Lead author Duck-chul Lee, an Iowa State kinesiologist, says runners reduced their risk of cardiovascular disease regardless of distance, duration and speed.

“Running is good for your health — but more may not be better. You don’t have to think it’s a big challenge. We found that even 10 minutes per day is good enough. You don’t need to do a lot to get the benefits from running.”

The research shows that running can reduce a person’s all-cause mortality rate by 30 per cent and cardiovascular mortality rate by 45 per cent. This means that running can reduce all mortal health risks, such as cancer, stroke, and heart attack, by nearly a third.

Lee said he found runners who ran less than an hour per week showed the same reduction in mortality risk compared to runners who ran more than three hours per week.

There is also a possibility that people who do go above and beyond with exercise are opening themselves up for greater risk of joint damage, bone damage, and heart attacks.

“Most people know that exercise is good for their health,” Lee said. “With too much of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise, there might be a side effect. Is there any limit that we shouldn’t go over? It is possible that people who do too much might be harming their health. However, we need more studies on this important issue.”