Want to Live Longer? Run Slowly for Less Than 10 Minutes a Day, Study Says

It doesn’t take much, in terms of exercise, to see a big pay-off for your health and longevity, according to a new study. A research paper just published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology says that running for just five to 10 minutes a day, at even a slow pace, could reduce your risk of early death from all causes, and specifically cardiovascular disease.

The study culled data from 55,000 adults, who were enrolled in the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study; their average age was 44. Researchers compared non-runners and runners, and accounted for the latter group’s weekly mileage, running frequency and speed. Follow up was done 15 years after the study began.

Conclusion: “Compared with nonrunners,” the authors write, “runners had 30 percent and 45 percent lower adjusted risks of all-cause and cardiovascular mortality, respectively, with a three-year life expectancy benefit.” And runners didn’t have to log serious mileage to see the benefit: They found that running less than six miles a week, at a about 10-minute-mile pace, “was sufficient to reduce risk of mortality, compared with not running.”

They also note that the most “persistent” runners—i.e. those who kept up with their running routine for an average of about six years—saw the most benefit, with all-cause mortality risk cut by 29 percent and cardiovascular-mortality risk slashed by 50 percent.

As the authors note: “This study may motivate healthy but sedentary individuals to begin and continue running for substantial and attainable mortality benefits.”