Research confirms it: Even running a little each week can have a big — and beneficial — impact on your health.
A new study released this week in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology concluded that running as little as 5 minutes a day, or about an hour a week, at slow speeds is “associated with markedly reduced risks of death from all causes and cardiovascular disease.”
The conclusions come from a review of the health records of more than 55,000 adults between the ages of 18 and 100 over several decades, which had been collected (along with their answers to extensive medical questionnaires) at the Cooper Institute in Dallas.
About 24 percent of this group identified themselves as runners. When the researchers leading the study — from Iowa State University, Louisiana State University and the University of South Carolina — examined their death records, just over 3,400 had died, just over a third of those from heart disease.
What did they find when they looked at runners vs. non-runners? That runners had a 30% to 45% lower risk of cardiovascular-related death, and got a boost to their life expectancy of 3 years.
The results of the study offer hugely encouraging news even for people who run “only” short distances, explained professor Timothy Church, one of the study’s co-authors, to the New York Times:
“We think this is really encouraging news,” said Timothy Church, a professor at the Pennington Institute who holds the John S. McIlHenny Endowed Chair in Health Wisdom and co-authored the study.
“We’re not talking about training for a marathon,” he said, or even for a 5-kilometer (3.1-mile) race. “Most people can fit in five minutes a day of running,” he said, “no matter how busy they are, and the benefits in terms of mortality are remarkable.”