Any Amount of Running—Weekly–Can Lower Risk of Death From Any Cause

Even a little bit of exercise can have a big impact on your health, and a new study is helping shed some light on just how little we actually need.   The new study suggests that most people would benefit from running just a few minutes a day (and maybe not even every day) to see substantial improvement in their health.  

While it is not yet clear just how running helps to reduce risk of death from any cause, the study simply advises that this activity, in particular, has great promise.  Essentially, the paper concludes, “Any amount of running, even just once a week, is better than no running.”  

The biggest benefit to running—again, even just a few times a week—is a significant reduction in risk for cardiovascular disease. At the same time, the study authors have not identified how much running—neither frequency or duration—to determine how much is ideal.

Accordingly, the study goes on to say, “Increased rates of participation in running, regardless of its dose, would probably lead to substantial improvements in population health and longevity.” 

To make these conclusions, the researchers systematically analyzed data from related published research, conference presentations, and doctoral theses and dissertations across a diverse range of academic databases.  They specifically looked for data on running and jogging and their relationship with death from any cause, as well as cardiovascular disease and cancer. 

This resulted in the discovery of 14 studies that involved more than 232,100 people, all of whom had their health tracked for up to 35 years.  Over the course of their respective study periods, 25,951 of these participants died. Pooling this study data, they found that any amount of running was linked with a 27 percent lower risk for death from all causes when compared with those who did not run at all.  It was also linked with 30 percent lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease as well as 23 percent lower risk of death from cancer. 

And the results were consistent regardless of gender. 

At the end of the day, the study concludes “More studies are needed to examine how sustained running behavior, rather than sporadic participation, is associated with mortality risk.  Future studies should also consider assessing running habits using activity trackers, as these devices may provdie more detailed and accurate insights into running behavior.”

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