Any amount of running is good for health no matter how many hours a person clocks a week or how fast he or she goes, a study revealed, suggesting that running even as little as 50 minutes a week is associated with a reduction in the risk of early death. As per the new research, running even just once a week is better than no running, but higher doses of running may not necessarily be associated with greater mortality benefits.
The study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine examined data from 14 previous researches of more than 2,30,000 participants to conclude that runners during the follow-up period between 5.5 and 35 years had a 27 per cent lower risk of early death from any cause, and a 30 per cent and 23 per cent lower risk of early death from cardiovascular problems or cancer respectively. The study compared participants involved in running, those who ran at least once a month as a "runner", and those who did not.
As per the researchers, the latest findings contradict other studies' results that hint benefits increase with more running but might drop at very high levels. The research showed significant benefits even among those running once a week or less than 50 minutes a week at a pace of 6mph (9.5km/h) or less, with no bigger reduction in the risk of early death at greater levels of running.
Lead author Dr Željko Pedišić from Victoria University in Australia said any amount of running is good for health and stressed the finding did not mean running to any degree resulted in a 27 percent lower risk of early death from any cause. Current guidelines by the National Health Service recommends 75 minutes of vigorous activity a week for adults (or 150 minutes of moderate activity). Pedišić, however, said the study suggested even slightly less time spent running could produce similar benefits when it came to the risk of early death.
Dr. Charlie Foster of Bristol University, who chairs the UK chief medical officers' expert committee for physical activity, said individuals should walk as much as possible if they could not run as any kind of exercise is associated with a host of health benefits, including lowering blood pressure, cholesterol and weight.