A new study has found that people that run for as little as five minutes a day can add years onto their lifespan.
Researchers monitored the exercise habits of around 50,000 Dallas-based study participants for six to 22 years. Around 24 percent of the participating adults classified themselves as runners. The study participants were mostly men, and their average age was 44-years-old.
During the course of the study, 3,413 people died, with 1,217 of those deaths being attributed to heart problems. It was found that runners are 45 percent less likely to die of heart-related diseases, and they are 30 percent less likely to die of any cause.
The study also found that, on average, runners live around three years longer than non-runners. Running regularly for six years or longer actually produces the best results, with a 50 percent risk decrease for heart-related deaths, the study found.
“It is important to promote exercise by stressing the potential harm of inactivity,” explained researchers in an editorial published alongside the study.. “Warn patients that inactivity can lead to a 25% increase in heart disease and a 45% increase in cardiovascular disease mortality, not to mention a 10% increase in the incidence of cancer, diabetes, and untold depression.”
The study also noted that speed, distance, and running frequency made almost no difference. People who ran short distances slowly and infrequently still had comparable results to those people who ran at a professional pace.
“Running even at lower doses or slower speeds was associated with significant mortality benefits,” wrote the researchers in the study.
However, the researchers did note that running only impacts adults. It is suggested that people around 65-years-old and older should try to do at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-aerobic activity, like walking quickly. More intense activities, such as running, should be done for at least 75 minutes a week.
“Exercise is a miracle drug in many ways,” researchers wrote in the editorial. “The list of diseases that exercise can prevent, delay, modify progression of, or improve outcomes for is longer than we currently realize.”
The study was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.