Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Life Won't Be as Short if You Go for a Little Run

Give the park a run for its money. Photo courtesy of National Park Service.

YOU know how to run don't, you? Sure, you do, so run, Baby, run!

Because in doing so, according to a new Iowa State University study, you will prolong your life.

"Every day is a good day when you run." – Kevin Nelson

In findings in an article titled Leisure-Time Running Reduces All-Cause and Cardiovascular Mortality Risk, published in the “Journal of the American College of Cardiology, researchers found that daily moderate running can reduce the risk of death from cardiovascular disease.

“Most people they say don't have time to exercise or to increase their physial activity,” asserts lead researcher DC (Duck-chul) Lee, an assistant professor of Kinesiology at ISU. “But I think almost everyone can find five or 10 minutes per day to run for health benefits, so I believe more people will be motivated by this study and hope that they can start running and continue to run.”

DCL and his team followed approximately 55,000 adults between 18 and 100 over a 15-year period. They found that runners had a 45 percent less chance of dying from heart disease than nonrunners. Also, on average, they lived three years longer. (See video above).

“There are many different type of sports, exercise and physical activities, but running is one of the most convenient leisure-time physical activities,” DCL says. “People don't need to buy any equipment, they can run anywhere – in the park, of course at the gym or any place.”

The Academy Award- winning "Chariots of Fire" recounts the Olympic experiences of two British marathoners. Archive photo.

For skeptics conjuring up images of superfit, uberhuman marathoners and sprinters, think again. DCL&Co. discovered that slowpokes are not at a disadvantage to regular folk who run like the wind.

“We found that even running less than six miles per hour was good enough to reduce – again their risk of death by any cause or cardiovascular disease.”

"For a long time I thought that being relaxed meant you were running slow, but it's the contrary. When you're fighting against your body instead of letting go. Relaxation was the key." – Florence Griffith Joyner

Chart shows how moderate running can prolong life and stave off disease.

Similarly, and perhaps open to debate, running under 60 minutes a week, researchers found, can be as beneficial as running several hours a week. Put another way, running more does not mean that one is less likely to die from cardiovascular disease than someone who runs less or even significantly less.

Explains DCL: “It doesn't really matter their speed or amount or the duration of running, because we also found that people who run less than an hour per week had the same amount of mortality benefits compared to people who run three hours or more per week.”

He adds, “So it might be true that the more may not be the better in terms of running and mortality, based on this study and population.”

"If you run, you are a runner. It doesn't matter how fast or how far. It doesn't matter if today is your first day or if you've been running for 20 years. There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get. You just run." – John Bingham

DCL ventures to suggest that there is even in the leisure-time running study food for thought for the public health community.

Slow your roll. You need not run as fast as Olympic great Flo-Jo aka Florence Griffith Joyner. Photo from Florence Griffith Joyner Web site.

“These days I think a lot of people think obesity is a health risk and they try to lose their body weight, but in this study we found also promoting running is as important as reducing the smoking rate, obesity or hypertension from a public health prospective.”

To that end, run a little and run a little slow.

"Those who think they have no time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness.” – Edward Stanley

Visit http://www.bit.ly/1uCAvqh to read an abstract of “Leisure-Time Running Reduces All-Cause and Cardiovascular Mortality Risk” or to obtain the article in its entirety.

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