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A 5-Minute Run a Day Is Good for Your Heart

Did you know you can reap heart health benefits by doing a five-minute run each day? According to a new study, people who ran a total of 50 minutes or less every week had the same heart health benefits as those who did over three hours weekly. The benefit: an added three years of life.

“This study encourages inactive people to participate in more physical activity including running,” lead study author Dr. D.C. Lee said. “[W]e can get significant mortality benefits by running even 30 to 60 minutes per week, which is below the recommendations by the World Health Organization and the U.S. government.”

Dr. Lee, an assistant professor of kinesiology at Iowa State University, noted that the benefits available to five-minute runners equal those of longer-distance runners. However, he warned that more research is needed before they can make the call as to the optimal running distance or time as it relates to heart health benefits.

“It is true that even a little is better than none,” Dr. Lee added.

People who run had a 30-percent lower mortality risk as well as a 45-percent lower risk for stroke or heart disease compared to those who don't run. On average, runners live longer by three years compared to non-runners. These heart health benefits were similar regardless of how fast, far or frequently they ran.

Furthermore, those who consistently took up running for at least six years had a 29-percent decreased risk of death and a 50-percent lower risk of stroke or heart disease.

Dr. Lee admits the existence of studies that link running with adverse health effects. In a study conducted by the Mid-America Heart Institute, too much running can lead to increased mortality risk. In view of that, Dr. Lee responded that more research is needed to learn more about the health effects the “upper threshold” of running.

“Running is a vigorous-intensity activity, so it is related to injuries and other potential negative effects on health,” Dr. Lee explained, adding that people run “not only for health, but also for competition, fitness, stress relief, socialization, or fun.”

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