July 29, 2014 2:58 pm

How running for just 10 minutes a day could add years to your life

You might hate the treadmill, but if you can stay on for a daily ten-minute run, it could be enough to keep your heart healthy.

Mike Medby / Mood Board / Rex Features

You might hate the treadmill, but if you can stay on for a daily ten-minute run, it could be enough to keep your heart healthy.

A marathon isn’t necessary – U.S. researchers say that people who run only once or twice a week, and even at a moderate pace, have better life expectancy than their couch potato counterparts.

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Global News

“Running is good for your health — but more may not be better. You don’t have to think it’s a big challenge. We found that even 10 minutes per day is good enough,” lead researcher Dr. DC Lee said in a university statement.

The Iowa State University scientist says that the medical community is already well aware of the benefits of exercise to stave off chronic disease, but it’s unclear if little bursts of working out help.

READ MORE: Online tool calculates when you’ll die based on 4 unhealthy habits

In his study, Lee studied the health data of more than 55,000 adults between 18 and 100 over a 15-year period. He wanted to know if running affected longevity. The data came from a longitudinal study that asked the participants how often they ran.

Turns out, runners had a 30 per cent lower risk of death from all causes and a 45 per cent lower risk of death from heart disease or stroke compared to their peers who didn’t take up running at all. They even lived an average of three years longer compared to non-runners.

Just one quarter of the people studied said running was their exercise of choice.

It was just as potent at influencing health as smoking, obesity or high blood pressure.

READ MORE: Fit in your 20s? Your brain health will thank you later, study says

And the benefits applied to runners regardless of how long, far or fast they said they ran. It also applied across the board regardless of sex, age, body mass index, health conditions or smoking status.

The lower risk of dying even extended to people who ran less than 51 minutes, 10 kilometres, and only one to two times per week. If you spent an hour running each week, you had the same benefits as runners who took up the exercise for more than three hours per week.

The researchers suggest that, based on these findings, more may not necessarily change your outcome.

READ MORE: Not too late for seniors to take up exercise for better health, longer life, study says

And if runners kept at their habit, they saw the “most significant” benefits. Those who ran consistently over a six-year period had a 29 per cent lower risk of death for any reason and a 50 per cent lower risk of death from heart disease or stroke.

Watch Lee’s interview with Iowa State below:

Lee’s findings were published Monday in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Read the full study here.

carmen.chai@globalnews.ca

© Shaw Media, 2014

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