Even a little running cuts risk of premature death, new study shows

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

Previous studies had yielded "inconsistent findings" about whether running could lower the risk of premature death, according to the researchers. 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.

Carried out by researchers in Australia, Thailand, Austria, and Finland, the new analysis looked at 14 existing studies which had tracked the health of a total of 232,149 people for between 5.5 and 35 years. While all of the studies were somewhat different - some compared running group members to those who didn't run, while others considered people who ran once a month "runners" - the team combined all the findings to come to their conclusion. After the data was pooled together, they showed that any amount of running was associated with a 27% lower risk of death from all causes for both sexes compared to no running.

And there was no evidence to suggest that doing more than this conferred a greater benefits, researchers found.

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.

They found no sign of such a trend.

Dr Zeljko Pedisic, an author of the research from Victoria University, said to The Guardian, "Any running is probably good for your health and you can achieve those benefits by running even just once a week or running 50 minutes a week, but that shouldn't discourage those who run more than that amount, who maybe enjoy running three times a week or six times a week." .

And it was linked to a 30% lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, as well as a 23% lower risk of death from cancer. 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.

The authors note current NHS guidelines recommend 75 minutes of vigorous activity a week for adults (or 150 minutes of moderate activity).

And although running has a clear overall health benefit, the researchers point out that higher "doses" of running may not necessarily reduce the risk of premature death further.

More plainly, while the study finds that people who run have better odds of not dying, it can't say whether running is the cause and "not dying" the effect.

However, the study has its own limitations because the levels of running were self-reported by the study's participants.

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