Austin family medicine running healthy habitsAccording to a recent study, it does not matter whether you run 30 minutes per week or two hours per week, you still achieve health benefits.  The study followed adults ranging from age 18 to 100 years old.  The average age was 44.  The main goal was to monitor how many people died or had heart-related deaths.

The study assessed patients by having the patients complete a medical history questionnaire regarding their leisure-time activity.  After 15 years, they same group of people were analyzed for follow-up.  Approximately 24% of the patients were considered to be runners.  The study compared the non-running population to the runners, and it turns out that the non-runners had less heart attacks and deaths.

Dr. Carl Lavie, a cardiologist and co-author of the study, advised people who want to start running to start with walking, then introduce jogging and running.  The health benefits can be the same if your slower pace is enhanced by longer intervals.  This means that if you prefer walking, you must walk twice as long as a runner to achieve the health benefits.  Bicycling requires 3-4 times the amount of time if it is leisurely riding (not elite cyclists of course).

“The study tells us that doing some exercise is clearly better than doing none at all” per Dr. Clyde Yancy, a professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a cardiologist with the American Heart Association.

Even running a total of 50 minutes or 6 miles per week was sufficient enough to reduce likelihood of death.  Researchers also found that adults who ran over a period of six years had the most significant health benefits.

Summary:  If you are a runner, you should continue to run at your current pace.  However, running small amounts (as little as 5-10 minutes per day at a slow speed) is associated with reduced risks of death from any cause and from cardiovascular disease.  The perfect amount of exercise would be 30-40 minutes 6 times per week, but if you are a couch potato, there is still hope for improvement to your overall health.

Lisa Long, PA-C

#Running #Health #Wellness #HeartHealth