Comprehensive new research confirms that running with any sort of regularity can dramatically lengthen a person's lifespan and reap major health benefits.
Researchers compiled data from 14 previous studies on 232,000 participants whose health had been tracked for 5.5 to 35 years in a new study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, Runner's World reports.
Their findings indicate that virtually any amount of running—we're talking less than 50 minutes a week—lowered subjects' risk of early death from any cause by 27 percent, lowered risk of death from cardiovascular disease by 30 percent, and lowered risk of death from all forms of cancer by 23 percent.
Additionally, jogging at a speed slower than a 10-minute mile pace for less than 50 minutes a week offers similar health benefits to those linked to more intense training, Željko Pedišić, Ph.D., an associate professor at the Institute for Health and Sport at Victoria University in Melbourne, Australia, told Runner’s World. But that doesn't mean those who are already logging weekly mile counts in the double digits should cut back.
“This finding may be motivating for those who cannot invest a lot of time in exercise, but it should definitely not discourage those who already engage in higher amounts of running,” Pedišić said. In fact, he recommends that new runners start with a pace that they find comfortable and gradually increase speed and duration over time.
Pedišić also elaborated on premature death risk factors running is known to reduce, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, and cancer.
Bottom line: Running 10 minutes daily for five days a week is a great place to start if you're not already active. And that's totally doable.