Fighting Fit – Running and its overall impact on your health

Fighting Fit – Running and its overall impact on your health

Running is one of the best ways to avoid an early grave. Here’s why.

By John Balfe - 6 Nov 2019

As has been covered on these pages in the past, it doesn’t matter how good your body looks on the outside if you are a mess under the hood.

A lot of newcomers to working out place a huge amount of their emphasis on the more aesthetically pleasing elements of working out, opting to add mass to their arms, shoulders and elsewhere and neglecting some of the more cardiovascular benefits which can be found with a robust and varied workout philosophy.

You might have some excellent guns but can you really consider yourself fit if you are wheezing after 60 seconds on a treadmill?

Running is one of the most neglected elements of working out because it’s, well, not that much fun most of the time but recent studies have shown precisely how important getting some concrete under your feet can be, as it can reduce the risk of an early death by as much as 27%.

Research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine (and combined with previous studies) took in the activities of more than 230,000 people across a span of 5.5 to 35 years and found that any amount of running (less than 50 minutes per week) resulted in the 27% less risk of early death figure. It also reduces risk of cardiovascular disease by 30% and gives you a 23% less chance of developing any form of cancer.

What’s even more interesting to discover, particularly for those who don’t love the idea of logging extensive miles, is that there was no discernible difference for people who exceeded the 50 minutes per week of running.

“This finding may be motivating for those who cannot invest a lot of time in exercise, but it should definitely not discourage those who already engage in higher amounts of running,” Dr. Željko Pedišić, an associate‌‌ ‌‌professor‌ ‌at the ‌Institute‌ ‌for‌ ‌Health‌ ‌and‌ ‌Sport at Victoria‌ ‌University in ‌Melbourne,‌ Australia‌ said.

What exactly are the benefits? Running leads to reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity and cardiovascular disease among others. It also improves your heart function, metabolism and endurance.

And you don’t have to go all out, either. Find a running pace that suits you and slowly add more speed and distance to your run.

Your heart will thank you for it.