Running, even just a little, can reduce your risk of death

Henrietta Strickland
November 7, 2019

While this research proves a happy surprise for those who only enjoy the occasional run, lead author Dr Željko Pedišić has warned that running to any degree doesn't necessarily result in a 27% lower risk of early death.

Carried out by researchers in Australia, Thailand, Austria, and Finland, the new analysis looked at 14 existing studies which had tracked the health of a total of 232,149 people for between 5.5 and 35 years.

Researchers at Victoria University have discovered that people who run have significantly lower risks of death than those who did not. The global health body stated that over three million deaths are caused due to physical inactivity every year. Around 11% of the people died during follow-up. Researchers found no evidence that the benefits increase with higher amounts of running.

They found no sign of such a trend.

The data also showed regular runners had a 30 per cent lower risk of an early death related to cardiovascular problems and a 23 per cent lower risk for suffering a cancer-caused early death.

An intriguing study from the United Kingdom titled 'Is running associated with a lower risk of all-cause, cardiovascular and cancer mortality, and is the more the better?' has been published which says you don't need to be running marathons to get the health benefits of running.

Any amount of running is good for health no matter how many hours a person clocks a week or how fast he or she goes, a study revealed, suggesting that running even as little as 50 minutes a week is associated with a reduction in the risk of early death. But Pedišić said the study suggested even slightly less time spent running could produce similar benefits when it came to the risk of early death.

In their paper, which will be published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, the researchers say health professionals are sometimes wary of promoting running "because vigorous exertion has been linked with sudden cardiac death".

The study also has other limitations, including that levels of running were self-reported and participants' running habits were only considered at one point in time, while not all of the previous research took into account other types of exercise participants might have done. According to The Guardian, Dr Charlie Foster of Bristol University, the United Kingdom chief medical expert for physical activity said, "At least 3.2 million deaths each year are due to people not doing enough physical activity".

"This is a good news for those who don't have much time on their hands for exercise, but it shouldn't discourage those who enjoy running longer and more often", he said.

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