New research from Victoria University which suggests running once a week for 50 minutes can save your life. Picture: Sarah Matray
New research from Victoria University which suggests running once a week for 50 minutes can save your life. Picture: Sarah Matray

How much exercise you should be doing to save your life

WORLD first Melbourne research has revealed running for as little as 50 minutes per week can significantly reduce your risk of death.

Researchers at Victoria University have discovered that people who run have significantly lower risks of death than those who did not.

The study, to be published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, found runners who took to the track even once a week had a 27 per cent lower risk of death from all causes.

It revealed runners had a 30 per cent lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease.

It found regular runners also had a 23 per cent lower risk of death from cancer.

And, in a win for those who find it a challenge to find the time or effort to run long distances, researchers found no evidence that the benefits increase with more than 50 minutes of running per week.

New research from Victoria University which suggests running once a week for 50 minutes can save your life. Picture: Sarah Matray
New research from Victoria University which suggests running once a week for 50 minutes can save your life. Picture: Sarah Matray

Associate Professor Zeljko Pedisic told the Herald Sun the potentially life saving impact of running could even be realised when people's weekly jog consisted of several runs amounting to 50 minutes in total.

"The fact that running just once a week, even just running for 50 minutes, can reduce your risk of death in significant," he said.

"It can be one time or several little runs adding up to 50 minutes.

"I think what people expect in this area is that the benefits of running will increase with its duration but the research finds that there was no evidence of that."

In about a year and a half of research, 14 global scientific reviews on the association between running participation and risk of death were analysed.

Almost 232,150 people had their health tracked for between 5.5 and 35 years.

Researchers found no evidence the benefits increase with higher amounts of running or at higher speeds.

The study also found regular runners had a 23 per cent lower risk of death from cancer
The study also found regular runners had a 23 per cent lower risk of death from cancer

"This is a good news for those who don't have much time on their hands for exercise, but it shouldn't discourage those who enjoy running longer and more often," he said.

Dr Pedisic said increased rates of participation in running, regardless of its "dose" would most likely lead to substantial improvements in population health.

"The importance of our research is because it has wide implications in public health," he said.

And with Australia a "nation of runners" with almost 700,000 people aged 15 and over participating in the activity and recreational running numbers doubling between 2006 and 2014, the study had important implications.

"This is an interesting finding for all of them because it's confirmation what they are doing is good for their health and should keep them running," he said.

"But it's also important for those who don't participate in running … it may also encourage clinicians and public health stakeholders to promote running."

He said the study did not mean everybody should start running or that people should run less or slower than they already do to meet the 50 minute mark.

"Running is definitely not the only sport or type of exercise that helps but it certainly it is one of those," he said.

peter.rolfe@news.com.au

@rolfep



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