No matter how often or how fast, any amount of running is good for you. “Even just once a week is better than no running,” the authors of a new study conclude. Interestingly, they add that: “Higher doses of running may not necessarily be associated with greater mortality benefits.”
The meta-analysis is based on 14 previous studies that monitored six different groups of participants, totalling more than 230,000 people who were tracked between 5.5 and 35 years. When researchers combined results of the studies, and compared those who ran with those who did not, the data showed runners had a 27 percent lower risk of early death overall. Runners were also found to have a 30 percent lower risk of early death from cardiovascular problems, and a 23 percent lower risk of premature death from cancer.
However, as NHS UK reports: “As with all observational studies, it's not possible to be sure the link is not being influenced by other health and lifestyle factors. That is, where people who run are more likely to be healthier overall, having a healthier diet, not smoking, and keep alcohol consumption in moderation.”
Still, as study head Dr Željko Pedišić from Victoria University in Australia points out: “Any running is probably good for your health and you can achieve those benefits by running even just once a week or running 50 minutes a week, but that shouldn’t discourage those who run more than that amount, who maybe enjoy running three times a week or six times a week.”