A new study published online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine has found that any amount of running is associated with a lower risk of death from any cause.
Researchers found that there is no need to run far or fast, just a small dose of running on a regular basis is enough. They said there would be significant improvements in health and longevity if more and more people took up running.
However, the researchers explained that it is unclear how good running is for avoiding the risk of death, especially from cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Also, they explained that it is unclear how much running you need to reap the health benefits and whether increasing the duration, pace and frequency might be advantageous.
The investigators analyzed several published studies, presentations, doctoral theses and dissertations. They looked at several studies that found the association between running and the death risk from all causes, including heart disease and cancer.
When all data of the studies were pooled, the researchers found that any amount of running reduced the risk of death from all causes by 27 percent.
In addition, they noted that running lowered the risk of death from cardiovascular disease by 30 percent and cancer by 23 percent.
The scientists explained that even a small “dose” of running, once a week, which lasts for less than 50 minutes each time at a pace of 6 miles an hour, was linked to significant health and longevity benefits.
The findings suggested that running is indeed a potentially good option for people who find it difficult to exercise due to lack of time.
The study was observational so the cause cannot be established. The researchers cautioned that the study had a few limitations, for instance, the number of included studies was small, with varied methods, which could have influenced the findings. Nevertheless, the researchers recommend that any amount of running is much better than doing nothing. They concluded, “Increased rates of participation in running, regardless of its dose, would probably lead to substantial improvements in population health and longevity.”