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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

South Carolina Study Reveals That Running Could Save Your Life

Running for only a few minutes a day or at slow speeds may significantly reduce a person’s risk of death from cardiovascular disease compared to someone who does not run, according to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

The study, led by Dr. D.C. Lee of Iowa State University, began at the Arnold School of Public Health when Lee was conducting post-doctoral research in the Department of Exercise Science. Arnold School researchers Drs. Russ Pate, Mei Sui and Steve Blair contributed to the study, as well as Dr. Carl J. Lavie of the John Ochsner Heart and Vascular Institute, Ochsner Clinical School, University of Queensland School of Medicine, New Orleans, and Dr. Timothy Church of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Louisiana State University System.

Researchers studied 55,137 adults between the ages of 18 and 100, over a 15-year period to determine whether there is a relationship between running and longevity. Data was drawn from the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study, where participants were asked to complete a questionnaire about their running habits. In the study period, 3,413 participants died, including 1,217 whose deaths were related to cardiovascular disease. In this population, 24 percent of the participants reported running as part of their leisure-time exercise.

Compared with non-runners, the runners had a 30 percent lower risk of death from all causes and a 45 percent lower risk of death from heart disease or stroke. Runners on average lived three years longer compared to non-runners. Also, to reduce mortality risk at a population level from a public health perspective, the authors concluded that promoting running is as important as preventing smoking, obesity, or hypertension.

The study has received widespread media attention since being released July 28, including: USA Today, SHAPE Magazine, ABC World News, NBC Nightly News, Washington Post, Reuters.

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