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Health Effects of Running

Many health guidelines recommend that people should spend at least 150 minutes each week exercising, and numerous studies have shown an association with benefits to health. Running is one of the most popular forms of exercise in the UK, with an estimated 7.1 million adults going for a run at least twice a month.[1] Authors from Australia looked at whether there were any associations between participating in running, the amount of time spent running, and mortality. [2] Using a systematic review and meta-analysis that pooled data from 14 studies (232,149 participants), they found that, compared to no running, any amount of running is associated with lower risk of all-cause mortality (27%), cardiovascular mortality (30%), and cancer mortality (23%). However, meta-regression showed that there were no significant improvement in mortality associated with higher frequency, duration, pace or total amount of running.

As it is an easily accessible form of exercise, not requiring any specialist equipment or venue, nor any particular skill, running should perhaps be encouraged by health professionals for the general population, even if it is just a short amount.

Peter Chilton, Research Fellow


  1. Sport England. Active Lives Adult Survey. May 18/19 Report. 2019.
  2. Pedisic Z, Shrestha N, Kovalchik S, et al. Is running associated with a lower risk of all-cause, cardiovascular and cancer mortality, and is the more the better? A systematic review and meta-analysis. Br J Sports Med. 2019.
Fri 13 Dec 2019, 15:00 | Tags: Health, Exercise, Peter Chilton