According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the number of Australians running or jogging has almost doubled since 2005 – and with the rise of smartphones and a wealth of running apps available to the average Australian, running has become an increasingly popular way to get fit and healthy.
Every runner has different motivations: some have competitive goals, others run for personal improvement or as a hobby, and the vast majority take up running in order to improve their physical condition and health status.
Yet what is the optimum amount to run in order to achieve the latter?
As part of the Copenhagen City Heart Study, a group of researchers recently concluded a study that sought to investigate the association between jogging and long-term mortality. And their findings might surprise you.
The key take home was that data strongly supported the case that jogging for 1 – 2.4 hours per week was associated with the lowest mortality. As the researchers argue,
“the optimal frequency of jogging was 2 to 3 times per week … lower mortality rates were associated with a slow jogging pace and modern jogging page. Notably, the group of fast-paced joggers had almost the same risk of mortality as the sedentary nonjoggers”. (Schnohn MD et al 2015: 414)
So what does this mean?
It means that you don’t have to be training for a marathon in order to obtain all of the health benefits that are associated with cardiovascular exercise. Their evidence that suggests that maximal cardiovascular longevity benefits were noted with moderate doses of running. By ‘moderate’, the researchers suggest a running duration of “approximately 50 to 120 minutes per week” (Schnohn MD et al 2015: 415), with a suggested distance of “6 – 12 miles” (9.5 – 19.5 km).
To put it another way, do you remember that general suggestion of aiming for around 30 minutes of physical activity every day? That’s probably not a bad rule of thumb to stick with.
Which- for those Australians juggling full time work, full time studies, caring roles, young families and other commitments (or any mixture of all these things!)- can only be interpreted as good news.
So get up, and get moving… at a moderate pace!