There are more fun types of exercise than running, that's for sure. It's often lonely, soggy, damp, boring and painful exercise, especially this time of year. But the health benefits of running are well-established. And it's incredible how much more enjoyable it can become once you develop some fitness and stamina.
An intriguing study from the UK titled 'Is running associated with a lower risk of all-cause, cardiovascular and cancer mortality, and is the more the better?' has been published which says you don't need to be running marathons to get the health benefits of running. The research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine states that running just once a week can help prevent early death.
It's clear from its biggest takeaway that running is reduces the risk of early death and cancer.
Running participation is associated with 27%, 30% and 23% reduced risk of all-cause, cardiovascular and cancer mortality, respectively.
It goes on to say:
"Any amount of running, even just once a week, is better than no running, but higher doses of running may not necessarily be associated with greater mortality benefits."
This is a big piece of research that looks at 14 previous studies of 233,000 people.
Dr Željko Pedišić, whose research is quoted in this report, is quoted saying the following in the Guardian:
Any running is probably good for your health and you can achieve those benefits by running even just once a week or running 50 minutes a week, but that shouldn’t discourage those who run more than that amount, who maybe enjoy running three times a week or six times a week.”
Just remember when you're out there slogging through a painful 5k run - every little bit of running you do is doing good. For those people who just finding running to be all-out torture, Dr Charlie Foster, the UK chief medical officers’ expert committee for physical activity, offered the following advice:
"Find the activity you enjoy the most and stick with it. But if you can’t run, walk as much as you can too.”