Runners, wannabe runners, and reluctant runners, listen up: There's good news for anyone who's ever made it onto the treadmill. A new, large study has found that even just a few minutes of jogging a day — no matter how slow — can significantly help your health. The study, published this week in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, looked at data from 55,137 healthy adults who had visited a Dallas clinic at least 15 years before the start of the study and had completed medical and fitness examinations along with questionnaires about their exercise habits. After following up on the group and looking at any causes of death, the researchers found that the 24 percent of the group who identified as runners had a 30 percent lower risk of dying from any cause and a 45 percent lower risk of dying from heart-related issues. The runner group had a lower risk of dying prematurely, even if they were overweight or smokers. All in all, the runners gained three extra years of life compared to those in the study who never ran.
It's easy to connect an active lifestyle to better health, but the surprising finding in this large study was just how little running it took to see a benefit. Researchers found that the lowered death risk was similar across all types, from those who ran more than 150 minutes a week at a fast six-minute-mile pace to those who ran 50 minutes or less a week at 10 minutes per mile or slower. The authors concluded that just five or 10 minutes a day of running at any speed — even slower than six miles per hour (10 minutes per mile) — led to "substantial and attainable" affects to life expectancy.
This study is another great example of how taking just a few minutes a day to sweat can have long-lasting benefits. Earlier studies have shown that short bursts of high-intensity exercises not only contribute to a high calorie-busting afterburn but also help lower your risk of developing diabetes as well as blast away belly fat. So even if you can't fit in a longer workout every day, keep these studies in mind to remember that every little bit helps.