Forget Couch to 5K – Just Log Some Miles Say Researchers 8 August 2014
New research is out that logging a modest mileage each week running will add years to your life and protect against heart disease. The research is from a peer-reviewed paper published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Many are saying the paper is a “landmark study” on the benefits of running, concluding that “Running, even 5-10 minutes a day, at slow speeds, even slower than 6 miles per hour [10:00 minute pace], is associated with markedly reduced risks of death from all causes and cardiovascular disease.”
To break that down, if you run four to five miles a week at 11- or 12-minutes-per-mile, you stand to gain considerable health benefits. The paper goes further in saying that those “persistent runners” who maintain their running regimens for five to nine years experience an even greater reduction in mortality risks.
The data from the study came from over 55,000 adults, with an average age of 44, who had enrolled in the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study, and mortality risks were calculated from an average of 15 years of follow-up on the subjects. Most of the subjects in the study were non-runners, and after a sub-analysis of over 20,000 subjects who attended two medical evaluations, researchers found that 65 percent were non-runners at both exams, 14 percent stopped running altogether, eight percent started running, and 13 percent were runners at both of the exams.
One of the interesting notes about this study is how it had changed since it was first presented as an abstract at the 2012 meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine. Back then the researchers claimed that mortality rates “increased” if runners over-trained, essentially running more than 20 miles a week, faster than 8:30-minutes-per-mile, or more than five days a week.
Backing down from highlighting the risks of too much running, the published paper highlighted the benefits of minimal running. In fact, researchers say that those who run less than an hour a week gain the same mortality benefits as those who run more than three hours a week.
“Since time is one of the strongest barriers to participate in physical activity, the study may motivate more people to start running,” says Lead author Duck-chul Lee, Ph.D., of Iowa State University, in a press release accompanying the research. “Running may be a better exercise option than more moderate intensity exercise since it produces similar, if not greater, mortality benefits in 5 to 10 minutes compared to 15 to 20 minutes of moderate intensity activity.”
So get out there and do something; it’s better than nothing and, in some cases, as good as what others do.
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