Running increases the length of your lifetime

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

Even just 30 minutes of running helps extend your life.

Strap on your sneakers and go outside for an enjoyable run, because whether you’re pumping those legs for 30 minutes a week or 4 hours, you’ll reduce the risk of dying by 30% compared to non-runners! Whoa. You don’t even have to go on a super intense run, either, since researchers found you’ll get the full benefits with just a solid half hour once a week.

While the USA’s Department of Health and Human Services recommends 150 minutes of casually-paced exercise or 75 minutes of hardcore calorie burning, this new study by Iowa State University scientists paints a much simpler picture. Published this week in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, which focuses on heart-related medicine, researchers showed that whether you run less than an hour or more than an hour each week, you’ll get the same health benefits! In fact, running too much can even have negative health effects.

What positive impact will moderate running each week have? You’ll not only have a 30% better chance of staying alive overall, but you’ll also have a 45% lower risk of dying from heart disease. In fact, on average, runners live 3 years longer than non-runners.

The study focused on 50,000 adults between 18 and 100 years old, over a period of 15 years, so they were very thorough. It’s also important to point out that runners who consistently ran over a period of 6 years had the best health benefits. The researchers point out that while the study focused on running, similar physical health benefits can be achieved from biking or walking. Still, running is ideal, because it takes 2 times more walking distance and 3-4 times more biking distance to equal the same benefits as running. If you’re new to the whole running life, take it easy at first by walking, then progressing to jogging. Once you reach a steady running routine, researchers say that 30-40 minutes a day of exercise is the best.

Featured image courtesy of Emiliano Bechi Gabrielli on Flickr. Image of daytime runner courtesy of Nathan Rupert on Flickr.