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How Much To Run?

jogging-on-beachA recent landmark report from Denmark sheds important light on the risks and benefits of running. Accurately analyzing running habits is difficult because there are many variables that must be considered such as the runner’s pace, the difficulty of the terrain, as well as the intensity and frequency of jogging.

by Richard H. Smith, MD

Light and moderate joggers appear to have a mortality benefit greater than sedentary people but interestingly, strenuous joggers have a mortality that may be similar to those who are sedentary.

The researchers found that the most favorable type are running to reduce mortality was to jog 1 to 2.4 hours per week with no more than three days of running per week at a slow or average pace. Jogging at a fast pace more than three times a week does not appear to have a benefit and could lead to
other problems such as atrial fibrillation or calcification of the coronary arteries, an important risk factor for future heart attacks and cardiac events.

The American Heart Association and most fitness experts recommend greater than or equal to 75 minutes of vigorous intensity aerobic physical activity per week. However, the encouraging finding from the Danish study is that less than one hour per week of jogging – well below the current minimum – is sufficient to reduce mortality. Therefore, even a small amount of running such as one time per week seems to have a significant benefit over not doing it at all.

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