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Running Once a Week may Increase Life Expectancy by 27%

If you needed an excuse to start running, now may just be your calling.

As I’m sure you know, there are many benefits to regular running. However, a new piece of research published on the 4th of November reveals that running at least once a week may actually increase life expectancy by 27%.

Moreover, the study also identified that those who ran more than once a week did not receive any greater mortality benefits. While there certainly are many benefits of running more often, current research does not suggest more frequent running to have an overall impact on the risk of mortality.

The study itself was based around a meta-analysis. This is where other data from past studies are used to inform a new study. In this case, fourteen different studies were selected based on a set criterion with a total of 239,149 participants to the study. Of these participants, 25,951 deaths were reported over a period of 5.5 to 35.5 years. This allowed researchers to draw statistical associations throughout their data set, thus informing this new and exciting piece of research.

Other benefits to regular running 

Now that we’ve drawn the importance to the incredible new piece of research, we thought it would be worthwhile to also mention the many other benefits running yields.

An infographic from Running101 captures eight key benefits of regular running. This can be seen below:

1.  Weight-loss/maintenance

Firstly, we have weight-loss and maintenance. It’s no surprise that running burns calories, lots of them. The longer and more often you run, the more calories you’ll burn. Whether you’re looking to shed a few pounds or simply want to enjoy that cheesecake on a Friday night guilt-free, running really is for everyone!

2.  Happiness 

You may be wondering why everyone runner stops, waves, and smiles as they run past. Well, not every runner… but a fair few! You see, when we exercise and or run our brain releases chemicals known as endorphins – these are feel-good hormones that trigger a positive effect within the brain.

3.  Improved mental health 

Not only do endorphins make you happier, but they can also improve your mental health. In fact, research surrounding parkrun in the UK reveals that parkrun may help combat against depression, anxiety, and even improve confidence within individuals. The research itself identifies three key themes from regularly participation in parkrun. These are as follows:

  • ‘Sense of achievement’
  •  Connecting with others’
  • ‘It’s for everyone’ 

The more you think about it, the more it makes sense. Completing a parkrun is an achievement in itself, improving confidence within individuals. Secondly, parkrun is very sociable with like-minded runners chasing similar goals – perfect for striking up a conversation. And finally, parkrun is for everyone, wherever you’re from, and whatever your background – this makes it a perfect opportunity to get out of the house, meet new people, and to chase your goals.

4.  Reduced risk of cancer 

Regular running may, in fact, reduce your risk of cancer. This was further highlighted in the initial study discussed towards the beginning of this post, with cancer being one of the mortality factors.

As well as this, running after diagnosis may aid with treatment and rehabilitation. Perhaps by adding structure back into patients’ lives, while also presenting them with the many other benefits such as improved mental health which running possesses.

5.  Stronger bones

Engaging in aerobic exercise such as running with help strengthen your bones and protect against conditions such as osteoporosis. We recommend combining running with weight training to further strengthen your muscles and bones, reducing your risk of any skeletal issues down the line.

6.  Improved heart health 

Regular physical activity, including running, improves our overall heart health. The stronger and healthier our heart, the reduced likelihood of a heart attack, stroke, and even cardiovascular disease.

7.  Live longer 

This has already been covered, however, regular running can increase life expectancy helping us to live longer. This has now been shown in various studies, with the most recent and ground-breaking discussed towards the beginning of this article.

8.  Improved sleep 

Who doesn’t want higher quality sleep? Not only will you fall asleep faster, but you’re also more likely to enter a deep stage of sleep thereby feeling more rested in the morning. However, we do not recommend exercising too close to hitting the hay as this may actually prevent you from falling asleep as quickly as you’d like.

The bottom line 

Running once a week is sufficient to improve your life expectancy by 27%. However, regular running (3-5 times per week) will allow you to receive greater benefits such as those mentioned in this article.

What are you waiting for? Lace-up, head out the door, and crush your next run!

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