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Short jogs could improve health and longevity

Tuesday November 5th, 2019

"Small doses" of running could lead to substantial improvements in health and longevity, researchers report today.

An observational study, published online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that even running at speeds under 6mph (8kph) once a week – or less – for under 50 minutes each time were associated with significant health and longevity benefits.

The Australian researchers found 14 suitable studies that examined the association between running/jogging and the risk of death from all causes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.

Together, the studies involved 232,149 people, whose health had been tracked for between 5.5 and 35 years.

After pooling the study data, they found that any amount of running was associated with a 27% lower risk of death from all causes for both sexes, compared with no running. It was also associated with a 30% lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, and a 23% lower risk of death from cancer.

The results suggest that running for 25 minutes less than the recommended weekly duration of vigorous physical activity could reduce the risk of death, making running a potentially good option for people who lack the time to do enough exercise, say the researchers.

They also found that increasing the amount of running was not associated with a further lowering of the risk of death from any cause, according to the research team led by Professor Zeljko Pediscic of the Institute for Health and Sport, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia.

While it is an observational study, that cannot establish cause, the researchers say that any amount of running is better than none.

“Increased rates of participation in running, regardless of its dose, would probably lead to substantial improvements in population health and longevity,” they write.

Pedisic Z, Shrestha N, Kovalchik S et al. Systematic review: Is running associated with a lower risk of all-cause cardiovascular and cancer mortality, and is the more the better? A systematic review and meta-analysis. British Journal of Sports Medicine 5 November 2019; doi 10.1136/bjsports-2018-100493

Tags: Australia | Fitness

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