Just ONE jog a week 'could lower your risk of a premature death'

Going for a 50-minute jog just once a week ‘slashes your risk of a premature death by up to 30%’

  • Running lowers the risk of an early death by 27%, review of 14 studies found
  • It lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease by 30% and cancer by 23%
  • Researchers believe running could have ‘substantial’ health benefits worldwide

A 50 minute jog just once a week could prevent you from an early grave, scientists claim. 

Researchers found any amount of running significantly lowers the risk of an early death by 27 per cent.

It was also linked to a 30 and 23 per cent lower risk of dying from heart disease and cancer, respectively. 

The NHS recommends adults get at least 75 minutes of vigorous exercise, such as running or swimming, every week. 

But studies have repeatedly found as little a ten minute walk or pottering around in the garden are enough to stave of disease and death.  

International researchers believe running – being affordable and not time-consuming – could have ‘substantial’ health benefits on a global scale.

Scientists recommend a run once a week to prevent a premature death. (stock) 

The academics, led by a team at Victoria University, Melbourne, pooled data from 14 studies that involved 233,149 people.  

Their health had been tracked for between 5.5 and 35 years. During this time, 25,951 participants died. 

Any amount of running was associated with a 27 per cent lower risk of death from all causers over the period of study for both sexes, compared to non-runners. 

Long runs didn’t appear to have any more of a benefit than shorter runs, according to the paper published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.  

Even a 50-minute run once per week at a speed below six miles (eight km) per hour still seemed to be associated with significant health and longevity benefits.

The researchers said: ‘Increased rates of participation in running, regardless of its dose would probably lead to substantial improvements in population health and longevity.

‘Any amount of running, even just once a week, is better than no running, but higher doses of running may not necessarily be associated with greater mortality benefits.’ 

Running may ward off a premature death because it has been found to keep weight down, reduce fat lipids in the blood and increase ‘good’ cholesterol. 

However, the researchers did not look into the effects on the body themselves. 

They also cautioned that the review cannot establish cause and that the number of studies included was small, with methods varying considerably.  

One previous study estimated more than five million premature deaths a year would be prevented if physically inactive people exercised.

But doctors should decide on a case-by-case basis whether to prescribe the activity, as it may not be suitable for everyone, the researchers said.

Running is often linked to a higher injury risk – shin splints, ‘runners knee’, torn ligaments and Achilles tendonitis are common.

But its popularity has soared in recent years with programmes such as Couch to 5K and the parkrun initiative, supported by The Royal College of General Practitioners. 

Each month around nine per cent of English adults take part in running, estimates show.

As well as keeping weight stable, exercise is known to be one of the key preventive measures people can take to keep their brain young.

High intensity training has been shown to boost blood flow to the brain, in turn potentially slashing the odds of dementia.  


To stay healthy, adults aged 19 to 64 should try to be active daily and should do:

  • at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity such as cycling or brisk walking every week and
  • strength exercises on 2 or more days a week that work all the major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms)


  • 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity such as running or a game of singles tennis every week and
  • strength exercises on 2 or more days a week that work all the major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms)


  • a mix of moderate and vigorous aerobic activity every week – for example, 2 x 30-minute runs plus 30 minutes of brisk walking equates to 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity and
  • strength exercises on 2 or more days a week that work all the major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms)

A good rule is that 1 minute of vigorous activity provides the same health benefits as 2 minutes of moderate activity.

One way to do your recommended 150 minutes of weekly physical activity is to do 30 minutes on 5 days every week.

All adults should also break up long periods of sitting with light activity.

Source: NHS 

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