Any amount of running reduces risk of early death, study finds

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While some clinicians may have been discouraged from promoting running as a part of "lifestyle medicine" because vigorous exertion has been linked with sudden cardiac death, this study shows that in the general population the benefit of running outweighs this risk. One of which could be that the runners were self-reporting their habits plus not all of the studies researched took into account other exercise.

As per the new research, running even just once a week is better than no running, but higher doses of running may not necessarily be associated with greater mortality benefits.

Researchers gathered information from 14 previous studies, with a total of 230,000 people studied from six different groups over a range of 5.5 to 35 years.

Each study was slightly different, with some comparing those who were involved in running groups with those who did not run, while others classified those who ran at least once a month as a "runner".

And with Australia a "nation of runners" with nearly 700,000 people aged 15 and over participating in the activity and recreational running numbers doubling between 2006 and 2014, the study had important implications.

Moving on to research the impact of duration, pace and frequency, the authors found no evidence of increased benefit when it came to death from any cause. The same report quotes World Health Organization data which states that every year 3.2 million deaths happen due to insufficient physical activity.

They found that almost any amount of running-logging less than 50 minutes per week-lowered the participants' risk of early death from any cause by 27 percent.

They found no sign of such a trend.

"The fact that running just once a week, even just running for 50 minutes, can reduce your risk of death in significant", he said.

He also emphasised that the findings did not imply, "that running to any degree resulted in a 27 per cent lower risk of early death from any cause, since dose-response was looked at in a smaller number of studies than used to calculate the overall effect".

The researchers also looked at whether those who ran the most would benefit more than the regular runners who ran less - but no "extra" benefit was detected. The team was on the lookout for research into the link between running, jogging, and the risk of death from all causes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. He chairs the United Kingdom chief medical officers' expert committee for 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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