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Public health experts recommend that people get at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity, such as walking, running, or cycling, each week for optimal health. Running, in particular, is associated with improved aerobic fitness and cardiovascular function. A recent meta-analysis found that running, even for short periods, reduced the risk of mortality from all causes, especially cardiovascular- and cancer-related deaths.
The authors of the study analyzed data from 14 studies of six prospective cohorts involving more than 230,000 people. The cohorts were followed over a span of 5 to 35 years. The data were adjusted for sociodemographic factors, other physical activity besides running, body fatness, health status, and unhealthy lifestyle habits such as smoking, alcohol consumption, and poor diet.
They found that running was associated with a 27 percent lower all-cause mortality, 30 percent lower cardiovascular mortality, and 23 percent lower cancer mortality. Even the smallest amount of time spent running (less than 50 minutes per week) was linked to a significant reduction in all-cause mortality.