Increased rates of participation in running, regardless of its dose, would probably lead to substantial improvements in population health and longevity, according to a new study on the subject published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
For the study, researchers examined data from 14 papers with a pooled sample of 232,149 people to investigate the association of running participation and the dose of running with the risk of all-cause, cardiovascular and cancer mortality. A total of 5,951 deaths were recorded during 5.5 to 35 years of follow-up.
When the study data were pooled, any amount of running was associated with a 27 per cent lower risk of all-cause mortality for both sexes, compared with no running. Running was also associated with a 23 per cent reduction in the risk of cancer mortality over the follow-up periods and a 30 per cent lower risk of cardiovascular mortality. A meta-regression analysis, which combined results from three cohort studies, showed no significant dose-response trends.
The authors said that while some clinicians may have been discouraged from promoting running as a part of “lifestyle medicine” among their patients because vigorous exertion has been linked with sudden cardiac death, these findings provide evidence that the mortality benefit of running outweighs the risk.