Whether you're running a marathon or are limited to running around the block in your neighborhood - even if it's at a snail's pace, it's still good for your health. According to U.S. researchers, slow and even short-distance jogging, significantly reduces the risk of cardiovascular problems. So writes Time Magazine.
The World Health Organization recommends 150 minutes of weekly and moderately intensive exercise (walking, gardening or physical chores in and around the house) or 75 minutes of very intense exercise (running, cycling, swimming or competitive sports). But few studies have so far been devoted to the health benefits of less than 75 minutes of intensive exercise.
U.S. researchers are now looking at the relationship between running - both long and short distances - and longevity. Their study was published yesterday in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. They studied data from a previous research - the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study - which, over a period of 15 years, has followed more than 55,000 adults between the ages of 18 and 100. Their daily activities, including walking, were logged.
45 percent lower risk of heart attack
The scientists found that the benefits of walking were the same for everyone, regardless of gender, age, weight, health and diet. Compared to non-runners, all runners showed thirty percent less likely risk of dying prematurely, and even 45 percent less chance of dying of a heart attack or stroke. 1,217 people who participated in the original study died from cardiovascular disease. Only 24 percent of them walked on a regular basis.
Lead researcher Dr D.C. Lee, assistant professor of Kinesiology at Iowa State University, found that those who ran for less than one hour per week enjoyed the same benefits as those who ran for more than three hours per week. The risk of premature death was smallest in runners who jogged consistently over a period of six years.