Any amount of running can significantly lower the risk of early death

Even short and slow runs could help

For years we’ve known that running is good for the head and the heart but new research has found that the exercise - even in small amounts - can have significant health benefits.

A new study has found that running for any amount of time can lower the risk of early death.

The new research, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, analysed 14 different studies over periods ranging from five to 35 years.

It looked at 230,000 joggers, across six different groups, and studied25,951 deaths.

Results found that any amount of the exercise was associated with a 27% lower risk of death for men and women, compared to no running at all.

It also showed a 30% and 23% lower risk of early death from cardiovascular problems or cancer, respectively.

Just 50 minutes of running over the course of a whole week was associated with benefits and slow jogs had positive results, too.

The study showed jogging in any capacity - even less than the NHS recommended amount of 75 minutes of intense exercise a week - lowered the risk of early death.

However, researchers were keen to point out that increasing the amount did not lower the risk of death any further.

woman running in autumn

Author of the study, professor Zeljko Pedisic, said, “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.

“Any amount of running, even just once a week, is better than no running.”

While the study was not able to prove a direct cause of better life expectancy, it did show the exercise can help to lower the risk of early death.

The World Health Organisation states that around 3.2 million deaths every year are down to people not doing enough exercise.

So now is the time to get outside or on the treadmill.

Lizzie Thomson is a regular contributor to woman&home, and also contributes to, Ideal Home, Culture Trip, and Evening Standard, covering all things lifestyle.