Run for your life. Literally.

Even a little bit of running can extend your life.
Even a little bit of running can extend your life.

Even a little running on a regular basis can extend your life, Australian researchers say.

They analysed 14 studies that included more than 232 000 people whose health was tracked for between 5.5 and 35 years. During the study periods, nearly 26 000 participants died.

Reduced risk of premature death

The collective data showed that any amount of running was associated with a 30% lower risk of death from heart disease, and a 23% lower risk of death from cancer.

Even as little as 50 minutes of running once a week at a pace slower than 6 mph (9.65 km/h) appeared to be protective, according to the authors of the study published online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

They said that makes running a good option for people who say they are too busy to exercise.

The reasons running is associated with a reduced risk of premature death are unclear, and the study doesn't establish cause and effect, said lead researcher Zeljko Pediscic. He's an associate professor of public health at Victoria University in Melbourne, Australia.

His team also noted that the number of studies analysed was small and considerable variation in their methods may have influenced the results.

Even so, any amount of running is better than none, the authors suggested.

"Increased rates of participation in running, regardless of its dose, would probably lead to substantial improvements in population health and longevity," they concluded in a journal news release.

Image credit: iStock

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