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The Benefits of Running, Even Slowly, Decrease Risk of Death

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Running: It Doesn’t Matter if You’re the Tortoise or the Hare

It turns out that running, no matter how slow you might be, greatly reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease.  So before you say that you run too slowly for it to matter, you might want to take a look at the research.  A new study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that the benefits of running were the same regardless of age, sex, weight, health conditions and substance-abuse history for individuals between the ages of 18 to 100.  Now if that isn’t evidence to the benefits of running, I don’t know what is.

Time Spent Running Doesn’t Matter Either

Researchers from the University of Iowa looked at data from the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study, which includes 55,000 adults ages 18 to 100 over a period of 15 years.  The participants in the data logged information about their daily activities, including whether they ran.  After analyzing the data, the researchers found that runners showed a 30% lower risk of death from all causes, and a 45% lower chance of stroke or heart attack.  Furthermore, it didn’t matter how much time runners logged–runners who logged less than an hour per week had the same longevity benefits as those who logged three hours or more.  However, those who ran the most consistently over a period of six years had the most benefits.

Running at a Slow Speed Just Minutes Per Day Could Mean Big Health Benefits

Although previous guidelines for exercise say that 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise is necessary for health benefits, the current study from the University of Iowa suggests that running just 5-10 minutes per week can significantly reduce mortality.  The researchers hope that the findings may motivate healthy, yet sedentary individuals to get moving for just a short amount of time per day to reap great benefits.  In fact, cutting exercise down into shorter chunks several times per day may motivate many people to get moving if they aren’t face with a daunting and drawn out period of exercise.