A new medical study finds that any amount of running is linked to a significantly lower risk of early death. Even a small amount of running will improve population health and boost longevity.
The research finds that any amount of running is connected to a significantly lower risk of death from any type of cause. This is based on a review of a range of other studies, where the evidence has pooled and subject to meta-analysis.
The researchers approached the question of ‘just how good is running for human health?’ by systematically reviewing all relevant published research, plus symposia presentations, and doctoral research, across a range of academic disciplines. The focus was with research drawing an association between running and the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer.
This analysis pinpointed fourteen studies of interest, which had a study population of 232,149 people (runners and non-runners). The health of these people was tracked across different time periods, with the shortest being five-and-half-years and the longest stretching to 35 years. During these reviews, 25,951 people died.
The overall finding was that any amount of running was associated with a 27% percent lower risk of death. This related to death from any cause and it was equal for both men and women. This difference was between those who run and those who do not run. In terms of specific diseases, there was a 30 percent lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease; and a 23 percent lower risk of death from cancer.
These findings appeared applicable even for irregular running, such as just a weekly jog for under 50 minutes (classed as ‘moderate to vigorous physical activity’). The pace of the run also didn’t seem to matter, with the positive effect being seen at speeds less than 6 miles (or 8 kilometers) per hour.
While the results are of interest; it is important to note that such an observational study cannot establish cause. So, the researchers have assembled evidence that running leads to better health and lower death rates, but, as yet, they do not know why.
The findings are published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, with the research paper called “Is running associated with a lower risk of all-cause, cardiovascular and cancer mortality, and is the more the better? A systematic review and meta-analysis.”
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