The research has been published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
The benefits of running need no retelling. However, there seems to be a new addition to the list, and quite an important one. According to research, as quoted in a report in The Guardian, running can also reduce the risk of an early death. The same report quotes World Health Organization data which states that every year 3.2 million deaths happen due to insufficient physical activity.
The latest findings suggest that running for any amount of time is good for health. “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.
The research, which has been published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, took into consideration 14 previous studies that were based on more than 2,30,000 people who were followed for a period ranging been five and a half years and 35 years.
The studies, each differing from the other, involved several parameters. While some compared those who were into running groups with those who did not run, while others also considered those who ran just once a month as a runner.
Among all the participants in the study, 25,951 died. After the results from different participant groups were compared, it was deduced that “runners had a 27 per cent lower risk of early death from any cause during the follow-up periods and a 30 per cent and 23 per cent lower risk of early death from cardiovascular problems or cancer respectively.”
It was also found out that different frequencies or pace did not lead to any different benefits as long as death from any reason was considered. Even those who ran once a week or less had significant benefits.
“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,” Dr Željko Pedišic, the first author of the research from Victoria University in Australia, said
He also emphasised that the findings did not imply, “that running to any degree resulted in a 27 per cent lower risk of early death from any cause, since dose-response was looked at in a smaller number of studies than used to calculate the overall effect.”
Factors like health status, lifestyle, sex were taken into account. But Pedišic maintains that findings could still be a bit unclear by these and other factors to some degree. There were limitations too like levels of running were self-reported among others. “Find the activity you enjoy the most and stick with it. But if you can’t run, walk as much as you can too,” says Dr Charlie Foster of Bristol University. He chairs the UK chief medical officers’ expert committee for physical activity.
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