Running Study: Less May Be More

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AMES, Iowa -- Running is one of the most convenient forms of exercise, which is one reason Iowa State University Kinesiology professor, DC Lee, Ph.D. chose it for this study.

"We looked at the association between running distance, running frequency and running speed with mortality risk."

More than 55,000 people participated, making it the largest study of its kind.  There are three major findings.  First, you don't have to run hours on end to reap big cardiovascular benefits.

"We found that as little as... five to ten minutes per day can reduce cardiovascular mortality risk about half."

The second finding:  Persistent runners over time showed the most mortality benefits.  That means stick with it.  And finally, more miles may not make your heart healthier.

"The third one is a little surprise because we also found runners who ran less than an hour a week, also showed similar mortality benefits compared to runners who ran three hours or more per week."

In fact, Less says some studies show excessive, endurance sports may harm the heart by creating an arrhythmia or damaging the heart muscle.

"We definitely need more studies on that very important issue, if there`s any optimal, upper threshold beyond which additional exercise provides no further benefits."

Bottom line;  Don't beat yourself up if you don't have the time, or the desire to run miles on end.  A job around the block may be just as good.

Read Lee's study below.

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