Live Better
 
 

A few minutes of running for a longer life

Running for just 5-10 minutes a few times a week can add years to your life, researchers have found.

You don’t have to run a marathon to see the health benefits of exercise. Even a small amount of gentle physical activity can make a real difference to your long-term health, as long as it is done regularly. A new study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology has confirmed this, finding that just 5-10 minutes of running a few times a week – even at a slow pace – could add three years to your life.

The study was completed over 15 years, following 55,000 people aged between 18 and 100. Participants who took a gentle jog three times a week were 61 per cent less likely to die from a heart attack or stroke than those who did little or no exercise. On average, those who jogged up to six miles (approximately 9.7 km) a week lived for three years longer than non-joggers.

An exercise solution for the time-poor

This is good news for those who struggle to find time to exercise. Recent Medibank research found that time is perceived to be one of the biggest barriers to good health for Australians.

“Since time is one of the strongest barriers to participate in physical activity, the study may motivate more people to start running and continue to run as an attainable health goal for mortality benefits,” said Dr Duck-chul Lee, lead author of the study, noting that those who ran less than an hour a week had the same benefits as those on the track for more than three hours a week.

“Running may be a better exercise option than more moderate intensity exercises for healthy but sedentary people since it produces similar, if not greater, mortality benefits in five to 10 minutes compared to the 15 to 20 minutes per day of moderate intensity activity that many find too time consuming.”

In a comment article accompanying the study, Dr Chi Pang Wen of Taiwan’s Institute of Population Health Sciences agreed: “A five-minute run is as good as 15-minute walk, and a 25-minute run can generate benefits that would require four times longer to accomplish by walking. As the researchers indicated, for younger individuals who are pressed for time, running is a far better option for time efficiency.

“Exercise is a miracle drug in many ways. The list of diseases that exercise can prevent, delay, modify progression of, or improve outcomes for is longer than we currently realise.

“We do not need to be athletes to exercise – it should be part of all of our daily routines.”

Recommended Reading

Move to feel good: Michelle Bridges’ top exercise tips

Superstar trainer Michelle Bridges shares a few top tips.

Read more

What’s the deal with pre-workouts?

Do pre-workout supplements do everything they claim?

Read more

How can exercise help manage chronic illness?

How exercise can help manage diabetes and more.

Read more

Join the community: can group exercise improve your mental wellbeing?

Group exercise keeps us motivated, committed and connected

Read more

Make a splash: 5 ways to get better at swimming

Change up your swimming routine with these drills.

Read more

Dragons afloat! Here’s why you should try dragon boating

There’s a seat for everyone in the sport of dragon boating.

Read more

What is body composition and why does it matter?

Why body weight alone does always tell the whole story.

Read more

After injury: how to set recovery goals

Physiotherapist Charissa Fermelis explains her method.

Read more