Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 23 January 2020

Any amount of running can cut risk of early death, new research finds

Just one short jog each week is enough to have a life-prolonging effect

Even a small amount of running each week is enough to have a drastic impact on your health. Getty Images 
Even a small amount of running each week is enough to have a drastic impact on your health. Getty Images 

Just one gentle jog a week is enough to significantly reduce the risk of early death, new research has found.

The latest findings suggest that any amount of running can have a significant effect on your health, no matter how fast you go or for how long.

The research, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, looked at the results of 14 previous studies which assessed the health benefits of running. The studies were based on six different groups of participants, totalling 230,000 people, who were each followed over periods of time ranging from 5 and a half to 35 years.

Each of the original studies was slightly different, with some participants avid runners, some who ran occasionally, and others who did not run at all. They also differed in how they classified people as runners, with some studies requiring only one session a month to put people in the “runner” category.

Researchers assessed the level of running activity of the 25,951 participants who died during the studies' time frames. They found that across the different participation groups, those who ran to any degree lowered their risk of death from any cause by 27 per cent, while their risk of death from cardiovascular problems dropped by 30 per cent and the risk of death from cancer dropped by 23 per cent.

“Any amount of 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 authors of the study write.

Researchers also looked for a link between frequency, speed and duration to see if each variable affected death rates, but none was found.

“Any running is probably good for your health and you can achieve those benefits by running even just once a week or running 50 minutes a week, but that shouldn’t discourage those who run more than that amount, who maybe enjoy running three times a week or six times a week,” says Victoria University’s Dr Zeljko Pedisic, first author of the research.

Updated: November 5, 2019 11:55 AM