According to a study published in the American College of Cardiology running only a few minutes a day even at a slow speed significantly reduces the risk of death from cardiovascular disease.
In this study researchers examined 55,137 adults between the ages of 18 and 100 over a 15-year period to determine whether there is a relationship between running and longevity. During the study period, 3,413 participants died, including 1,217 whose deaths were related to cardiovascular disease. In this population, 24 percent of the participants reported running as part of their leisure-time exercise.
In comparison with a control group consisting of non-runners, the runners had a 30 percent lower risk of death from all causes had a 45 percent lower risk of death from heart disease or stroke and lived three years longer compared to non-runners.
In general the running duration and speed had very little to do with the overall health impact of running as study participants who ran less than 51 minutes, fewer than 6 miles, slower than 6 miles per hour, or only one to two times per week had a lower risk of dying compared to those who did not run.
Since time is one of the strongest barriers to participate in physical activity, the study may motivate more people to start running and continue to run as an attainable health goal for mortality benefits,” DC (Duck-chul) Lee, Ph.D., lead author of the study said. “Running may be a better exercise option than more moderate intensity exercises for healthy but sedentary people since it produces similar, if not greater, mortality benefits in five to 10 minutes compared to the 15 to 20 minutes per day of moderate intensity activity that many find too time consuming”.
Duck-chul Lee, Russell R. Pate, Carl J. Lavie, Xuemei Sui, Timothy S. Church, Steven N. Blair. Leisure-Time Running Reduces All-Cause and Cardiovascular Mortality Risk. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 2014; 64 (5): 472 DOI: 10.1016/j.jacc.2014.04.058