Science

Running proven to lengthen life

By Holly Giles

We all know that going out on a run is good for us, but how much do you actually have to do to reap the benefits? 

In a new study this month researchers have seen that running for only fifty minutes a week is associated with a 27% lower risk of death. This was also associated with a 30% lower risk of death from  cardiovascular diseases such as a heart attack and a 23% lower risk of death from cancer. Fifty minutes is less than the weekly recommended duration exercise so it’s fair to think that this is less than the bare minimum but the new study shows that really any amount of exercise does do your body good, giving a whole new meaning to the phrase “run for your life”.

A team at Stanford University School of Medicine investigated this finding further by tracking 500 elederly runners and they found that the longer they stayed active the less likely death became. These pensioners were not running far or fast but showed that a small amount of running each week really did make a difference. Scientists behind the research think this is because running is a full body workout that uses all the major muscles in the body as well as challenging the respiratory system, cardiovascular system and excretory system. These are all areas which commonly fail in the elderly so helps explain the beneficial effects of running.

This was also confirmed by a second American study which found, compared to non runners, people who ran tended to live three years longer on average regardless of speed, smoking, drinking or weight. When reading this statistic it is easy to wonder whether they spent those three years running but statistically it returns more time than it consumes; running for two hours per week accumulates to six months of running over 40 years. However it leads to an increase in 3.2 years of life. This is a higher payback of time than any other sport proven so far and shows that an hour of running statistically lengthens your life by seven hours. That means for every hour you run you gain another six to watch Netflix so if that doesn’t motivate you to start running, I don’t know what will.

 

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