A lack of time is one of the most common excuses given by people who don’t exercise. This report coming from the American College of Cardiology will be welcoming news for the time-poor non-exercisers:
"Running for only a few minutes a day or at slow speeds may significantly reduce a person's risk of death from cardiovascular disease compared to someone who does not run."
Running is a very popular form of exercise given it is easy to take up - no special equipment is needed other than a pair of running shoes and you can start and end right from your front door. A previous post of ours assessed the merits of running in more detail - Is Running The Best Exercise For Fitness?
The report from the American College of Cardiology states that even a 5-10min run is enough to provide significant cardiovascular benefits and a reduction in mortality risk.
This is interesting news at a time when the high-intensity, crossfit style training is the craze now promoting 30-45minutes of very strenuous activity which may lead to injury if not performed with due care.
The study, assessing the relationship between running and longevity, involved over 55000 adults between 18-100 years of age and lasted over 15 years. The study claims that runners had a 30% lower risk of death from all causes and a 45% lower risk from heart disease or stroke. Runners on average lived 3 years longer!
The lead author of the study suggests that runners who ran for less than 60 minutes per week receive the same benefits of lower mortality risk compared to runners who ran more than 180 minutes per week. So it seems that in relation to running and longevity more effort does not necessarily offer more benefit.
Another interesting statement from the study suggests that the benefits are the same no matter how far they ran, for how long or how many times a week and for all types of people regardless of sex, age, BMI, whether they smoked or drank alcohol.
So this is telling us that if we simply get out and run for a minimum of 5-10 minutes we would be gaining a lot of health benefits.
However I must add my own opinion - I disagree to some extent the promotion for any person regardless of health condition to simply charge out and start running. Overweight people, who may drink alcohol in excess and may suffer poor physical conditioning due to a low fitness level should see a doctor for a standard health assessment before taking up a strenuous activity - even if it is for only 5-10 minutes of running a day.
Furthermore, if you have never run before, or have a had an injury which is preventing your return to running, I would strongly suggest undergoing a physical screening assessment.
This would be used to determine if you are physically able to start running again without the risk or a new injury, or possibly stirring up an old injury.
When you are ready to go, I would recommend beginning with a faster paced walk, rather than actually running, for the first 2-3 efforts to allow the body a gradual introduction to exercise. This is to ensure no muscle injury is sustained which would sabotage the good intentions of taking up exercise.
With the overwhelming amount of research and evidence proving the tremendous health benefits of exercise we feel strongly that everyone must find some time to do some form of physical activity. This latest information should be encouraging news for anyone considering taking up exercise on a regular basis for the first time.
Further related reading:
Happy and safe running!
Image courtesy of ‘isosphere' / FreeDigitalPhotos.net