Running: The Miracle Prescription to Good Health & Longer Life

 In Running

Most people recognise that exercise is good for their health. Few people would refute the benefits of getting moving, sweating, and getting the heart rate up!


Scientific research has shown strong evidence for the association between the following health benefits and exercise:

  • lower risk of early death

  • lower risk of coronary artery disease

  • lower risk of stroke

  • lower risk of HBP

  • lower risk of type 2 diabetes

  • lower risk of colon and breast cancer

  • reduced depression

  • prevention of weight gain

  • better cognitive function

If the above prescription for good health was available in the form of a single pill most people would take it! What’s more if it was an inexpensive single pill even more people would take it!


Well the miracle prescription may have just been found by leading researchers at Iowa State University-running!

A recently published research paper in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (1) has discovered that running even for a short time and a slow-speeds, reduces the risk of death from all causes of cardiovascular disease.

Researchers examined the mortality risk of 55, 137 adults aged between 18 and 100 years of age, with a mean age of 44 years. Of this population 24% or 13, 232 adults were runners.

At a 15 year follow up 3,413 all cause and 1,217 cardiovascular deaths occurred.

Compared with non –runners, runners had a:

  • 45% lower risk of cardiovascular disease

  • A 3yr life expectancy increase or benefit!


Interestingly when the researchers analysed the best dose of running to promote the lowered risk of cardiovascular disease they found there was similar benefit to be derived across different variables of running: time, speed, calories burnt etc. They found weekly running even less than 51mins, 10kms, 6miles per hour, and just 1 to 2 times per week was sufficient to reduce the risk of mortality compared with non -runners.

The research also found that persistent runners received the greatest benefits. Compared to never runners persistent runners had a staggering 50% reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease.

Interestingly this study parallels scientific findings from a 2008 (2) research paper that came out of USA’s Stanford University. This study looked at 538 runners and 423 healthy non-runners all greater than 50years of age.

After 19 years  15% of the runners had died yet 34% of the non-runners had died. Furthermore at a  21 year follow up  the difference in mortality rates was even more pronounced. This same paper also showed that running reduces the incidence of disability later in life yielding a higher quality of life in addition to a longer life.

Running has been shown to reduce your risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. Running has been shown to reduce your risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.


Both of these studies evidence that people who run for exercise have a survival advantage over people who don’t run for exercise. It’s hard to argue that the benefits of running aren’t worth the risk of hardship that might be associated with running. Don’t let excuses such as running is too hard, running wears out my joints (not true), it’s too cold or dark in the mornings, or I can’t run, stop you.

Start small with even just 5 minutes a day.

Your life may literally depend on it!


Brad Beer (APAM)

Physiotherapist, Author, Founder POGO Physio, Runner


1. Is Running Bad for You? The Benefits, Myths, and Facts About Running HERE.

2. Strength Training For Distance Runners-The 3 Key Benefits HERE.


  1. Lee DC, Pate RR, Lavie CJ, Sui X, Church TS, Blair SN. Leisure-time reduces all –cause and cardiovascular mortality risk. The Journal of the American College of Cardiology  64 (5): 472-481.
  2. Chakravarty EF, Hubert HB, Lingala VB, Fries JF. Reducing disability and mortality amongst ageing runners: a 21 year longitudinal. Archives of Internal Medicine 168 (15): 1638-1646.

POGO Physio Gold Coast Brad Beer running physio book

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