If You Do This for 5 Minutes a Day You Might Live Longer

Good news for those of us who are time poor but want to stay fit and healthy – a short run each day could help extend your life span. 

“I just don’t have the time to exercise!”

It’s a familiar excuse – but now, research suggests we don’t need to slog our guts out exercising for hours and hours each week for some health benefits.

Drawing from data on more than 55,000 adults (average age 44) over 15 years, a US study examined if there appeared to be any relationship between running, dying from cardiovascular disease, and dying from any cause. The study included runners and non-runners alike.

A little each day goes a very long way

The researchers found that runners enjoyed on average an additional three years’ life expectancy compared with non-runners.

What’s more, they had 45 per cent less risk of death from cardiovascular causes – even taking into account factors like gender, age, smoking and drinking. And it seems these lower mortality rates applied regardless of running time, distance, frequency, amount and speed. 

In fact, the study found that running for as little as 5-10 minutes a day, at speeds of less than 9.5km per hour, could be enough to do the job. 

It seems the name of the game to a reduced risk of death is actually continuity of exercise.
group running in a laneway

Getting started and staying the course 

With benefits like this, why wait?

Here are a few tips to help you get going – and keep up the good work.

Starting out
  • If you’re overweight or over 40, see a doctor before you begin. The same goes if you’ve ever had serious health conditions like: heart attack, stroke, asthma, diabetes or musculoskeletal issues.
  • If you’ve been inactive for some time, or you need help with your running technique, it may pay to see an exercise professional for guidance or join a running group.
  • Wear properly fitted running shoes, loose clothing suitable for running, and sunscreen.
  • Take a drink bottle to keep up your fluid intake.
  • Warm up with some walking or light jogging, and cool down with gentle stretching.
Staying motivated
  • Make running a priority. Put ‘exercise appointments’ in your diary and treat them as a regular commitment, rather than something to fit in randomly around your busy life. 
  • Run with friends or family. It’s a great way to stay in touch – and you can support each other as you progress.
  • Vary your route occasionally to help maintain your interest. 
  • Reward yourself with the occasional, healthier treat like a magazine, a spa session, or a movie. This is a terrific way to celebrate your achievements and keep running long-term for maximum benefits.
Above all, listen to your body. If you’re unwell or carrying an injury, check in with your health professional, and rest up if advised. A little time on the sidelines could save you problems down the track.
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