This Is Exactly How Much Time Running Adds To Your Life, According to Science

updated May 3, 2019
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: lzf/Getty)

If you haven’t laced up those running shoes since January (hey, no judgement), this news might motivate you. New research has calculated just how much time a jog adds to your life.

A paper published last month in Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases takes a look at just how much running increases longevity. The study states that in general, “runners have a 25-40% reduced risk of premature mortality and live approximately three years longer than non-runners.” Which, sure, that sounds great, but doesn’t seem super noteworthy. What’s really interesting is that they break it down—to the hour.

According to the researchers, one hour of running extends your life by seven hours. And the good thing is that it’s valid for relatively modest amounts of running, not marathon training (the higher the mileage, the more the benefits plateau). The authors aren’t exactly here to tell you to start doing ultra marathons for the heart health—Iowa State’s Duck-chul Lee and New Orleans cardiologist Carl Lavie have previously penned studies that raised questions about the dangers of too much running.

But they did compare the “hazard ratio”—the odds of dying from any cause during the study—of runners and non-runners, both active (other, non running activity totals at least 75 vigorous minutes per week) and inactive. While the active runners are the least likely to die with a ratio of .57 (or 43% chance of not dying), the interesting difference is between active non runners (.88 or 12%) and the inactive runners (.7 or 30%).

So, it seems that even though you don’t have to work out every day, maybe a few of them should include a jog.

More in fitness