Running just 5 to 10 minutes a day will lengthen your life
If you run a mere 5-10 minutes five times a week, your life expectancy will increase dramatically. In terms of mortality risk, running for longer will not improve your chances. This is the message that comes out of the study that sports scientist Duck-chul Lee, of Iowa State University, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Lee analysed data on almost sixty thousand adults, average age 44, who he followed for 15 years. A quarter of the adults ran or jogged.
The runners were 30 percent less likely to die than the non-runners, and their chance of developing fatal cardiovascular disease was 45 percent less. That meant that running extended their life expectancy by three years.
Lee then broke his data up according to the number of minutes a week that the runners ran. When he did that he discovered that the group that ran for 51 minutes or less a week was just as well protected as the groups that ran for more minutes.
When Lee looked at the number of kilometres that the participants ran, the number of times a week they trained, and the amount of calories they burned while running, for all these parameters it also came down to 'more' is 'no better'. The exception was the speed at which the participants ran: there the trend was that running offered more protection the faster it was done.
That could mean that people seeking to extend their life expectancy would do best to run for a few minutes a day, but then as fast as they can.
"Current physical activity guidelines recommend a minimum of 75 min/week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity such as running for health benefits", the researchers write. "However, we found mortality benefits with even less than 75 min/week of running. In additional analyses, we found that a minimum of 30 to 59 min/week of running (5 to 10 min/day) was associated with lower risks of all-cause and CVD mortality compared with no running."
"We think this is really encouraging news", says co-author Timothy Church in the New York Times. [nytimes.com July 30, 2014] "We're not talking about training for a marathon, or even for a 5-kilometer (3.1-mile) race. Most people can fit in five minutes a day of running, no matter how busy they are, and the benefits in terms of mortality are remarkable."
J Am Coll Cardiol. 2014;64(5):472-481.
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