5 Minutes of Running Can Add Years to Your Life

My Bariatric Life Health Guide
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    My Bariatric Life running her first 3k with her granddaughter.


    A Five Minute Daily Run Can Increase Your Life Span By Three Years

    There is currently something of a running boom taking place, and more people than ever before are testing their legs in competitive events. I did my first race ever, a 3k, this past Spring. Next month, I am doing the Color Me Rad 5k in Indianapolis. I got into running just this year and it seems to be a trend that has been gaining momentum. Back in 2011, twice as many runners finished timed road races than in 2000. There also has been a substantial increase in people competing in marathons of 26 miles or more, and women now account for twenty percent of those people.

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    Those who are new to the exercise seem to have a preference for the half marathons that now account for 42% of the road races in the United States. The number of marathons in the United States has more than tripled since 1985, and in 2011 a whopping 518,000 participants were marathon finishers. I don't ever see myself going the 13.1 miles of a half marathon but my daughter did just that this past Spring! My eyes welled with tears as she crossed the finish line. She gave me the inspiration to run the 5k.


    Right about now you might be saying, "That's great. I'm about weight loss and good health and exercise, but as far as running marathons or half marathons...well, let's just say no thanks." 


    That's okay. Distance running isn't for everyone, but running does has some real benefits. if distance is not your interest, then how about five minutes a day? Would you give five minutes a day for extra years of longevity?


    Short Runs Yield Big Results

    A study recently published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology has found that people who run for fifty minutes per week receive the same benefits as those  who run more than three hours per week. The benefit of both efforts is an additional three years of life. 


    Even though the thirty to sixty minutes of running per week is below the recommendations of the World Health Organization and the US Government, the benefits are substantial according to the study. 


    Runners had a 30% lower risk of death and a 45% lower risk of death from heart disease or stroke than non-runners. It was discovered that those who ran consistently across a six year period had the most significant benefits with a 29% lower risk of death and a 50% lower risk of death from heart disease or stroke.     

    Lead researcher Dr. D. C. Lee cautions that additional studies are needed to discover the optimal degree of running for different populations. For example, a recent study from the Mid-America Heart Institute found that too much running could increase mortality rates. 


    Part of the good news in Dr. Lee's study is that it was found that runners in general shared that same three year life extension regardless of how often they ran, how far they ran, how long they ran, or how fast they ran. In a nutshell, running is a good form of exercise with high end benefits and even a small amount is much better than none.        


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    Lee also points out that running can be an intense form of exercise that can sometimes lead to injuries. Therefore, my next post will take a look at ways to help avoid running injuries while grabbing for the gold ring of extra years. Remember: ALWAYS check with your doctor before beginning any new exercise program. This is especially important for people with health conditions.


    Living life well-fed,

    My Bariatric Life


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Published On: August 12, 2014