The New York Times published an interesting story by Gretchen Reynolds this morning about how even a slow, short run could add time to your life. I recommend you give it a read.
The story references a study conducted by the Cooper Institute in Dallas that showed “as little as five minutes of running per day was associated with longer lifespans.” This is pretty incredible stuff:
Cumulatively, the data indicated that running, whatever someone’s pace or mileage, dropped a person’s risk of premature death by almost 40 percent, a benefit that held true even when the researchers controlled for smoking, drinking and a history of health problems such as hypertension or obesity.
Running won’t make you live forever, there’s a limit to the one hour of running gains you 7 hours of life. Given that a runner might spend 2 hours a week training, researchers estimated that a typical runner would spend less than six months actually running over the course of almost 40 years. In return for that six months of running time is an increase in life expectancy of 3.2 years, for a net gain of about 2.8 years.
The study also concluded that other forms of exercise like walking and cycling also dropped the risk of premature death, but by a less impressive 12 percent. Apparently, I need to trade in my cycling shoes for running shoes a couple days a week.