Any amount of running is associated with a significantly lower risk of premature death, according to a study. The analysis, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, looked for studies on the association between running or jogging and the risk of death from all causes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. The researchers, including those from Victoria University and the University of Sydney in Australia, found 14 suitable studies, involving 232,149 people, whose health had been tracked for between 5.5 and 35 years.
During this time, 25,951 of the study participants died, the researchers said. When the study data was pooled, any amount of running was associated with a 27 per cent lower risk of death from all causes for both sexes, compared with no running, they said.
Running was also associated with a 30 per cent lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, and a 23 per cent lower risk of death from cancer, according to the study. Even small 'doses' -- for example, once weekly or less, lasting less than 50 minutes each time, and at a speed below eight kilometres (km) an hour, still seemed to be associated with significant health or longevity benefits.
The researchers said that running for 25 minutes less than the recommended (75 minutes) weekly duration of vigorous physical activity could reduce the risk of death. This makes running a potentially good option for those whose main obstacle to doing enough exercise is lack of time, suggest the researchers.
However, upping 'the dose' wasn't associated with a further lowering of the risk of death from any cause, the analysis showed.
This is an observational study, and as such, can't establish cause. The researchers caution that the number of included studies was small and their methods varied considerably, which may have influenced the results.