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Fast or Slow: Running Can Save Your Life

Running fast or slow

When it comes to exercise, JUST DO IT. Even a slow jog for a few minutes a day can have a significant impact toward extending your life.

A new study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology studied the effects of jogging using data from more than 55,000 adults between the ages of 18 and 100 over a fifteen-year period. The information was part of the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study where participants completed a questionnaire about their running habits.

Running benefits were the same for all

Compared with non-runners, those who did run – no matter how long or how far – had a 30% lower risk of death from all causes, and a 45% lower risk of death from heart disease or stroke. Runners, on average, lived three years longer than non-runners. And the benefits were the same regardless of sex, age, body mass index, health conditions, smoking status or alcohol use.

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Exercise is a well-established way to prevent heart disease. Studies have found that the optimal amount of time to spend doing vigorous exercise each week is about 75 minutes, or as little as 15 minutes a day five times a week. Exercise is just as important of a health contributor as diet, weight maintenance, and quitting smoking.

Why Running

Why running versus other activities? Dr. DC Lee PhD, the lead author and an assistant professor in the Iowa State University Kinesiology Department says "Running may be a better exercise option than more moderate intensity exercises for healthy but sedentary people since it produces similar, if not greater, mortality benefits in five to 10 minutes compared to the 15 to 20 minutes per day of moderate intensity activity that many find too time consuming."

“We think this is really encouraging news,” said Timothy Church, co-author and a professor at the Pennington Institute. “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.”

Journal Reference:
Duck-chul Lee, Russell R. Pate, Carl J. Lavie, Xuemei Sui, Timothy S. Church, Steven N. Blair. Leisure-Time Running Reduces All-Cause and Cardiovascular Mortality Risk. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 2014; 64 (5): 472 DOI: 10.1016/j.jacc.2014.04.058

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