Going for a run only around once per week has a surprising effect on one’s overall death risk, according to a new study out of Victoria University’s Institute for Health & Sport. The findings were based on a review of existing literature that shed light on the link between running and one’s risk of dying; more than 232,000 participants were tracked for up to 35 years.
Benefits from running were linked to as little as 50 minutes per week, according to the study, which found that people who run every week had a 27-percent lowered risk of death from all causes compared to people who never went for runs.
The benefits were greater in terms of death risk from cardiovascular disease at 30-percent and a bit lower in terms of cancer at 23-percent. Some benefits were still observed in people who ran for less than 50 minutes per week, though the researchers note that running more often wasn’t linked to increased benefits.
Even if you don’t have much free time during the week to exercise, the study found that going for a brief run throughout the week may lead to ‘substantial improvements’ in health and potentially lead to longer lives.
The findings contrast with past research that found an association between partaking in ‘vigorous’ exercise and the experience of sudden cardiac death. The longevity benefits of running, the researchers say, ‘outweigh’ the potential risk. Of course, one should be mindful of running’s potential negative impact on joints and talk to their doctor about any concerns they have.