Even a 5-minute run can help prevent heart disease
Good news for runners: A new study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology suggests running, even for a few minutes a day, can reduce your risk of dying from heart disease – whether you plod along or go at race speed.
Researchers studied more than 55,000 adults between the ages of 18 and 100 over a 15-year period, looking at their overall health, whether they ran and how long they lived.
The speed and frequency of a person’s running routine did not make a huge difference either. The data showed novice runners who ran less than 51 minutes, fewer than 6 miles, slower than 6 miles per hour, or only one or two times per week still had a lower risk of dying than those who did not put on running shoes.
However, researchers did discover that consistency was key. They found participants who ran consistently over a period of six years or more gained the most benefits, with a 29% lower risk of death for any reason and 50% lower risk of death from heart disease or stroke.
Activities like running can lower your blood pressure and decrease the production of glucose, which cuts your risk of developing diabetes, according to the American Heart Association. Running also seems to protect the innermost lining of the arteries, keeping the walls and cells intact, which cuts the risk of blockages or clots that can cause strokes or heart attacks.