Monday, July 28, 2014

This Sounds Overstated: Any Running Reduces Your Risk of Early Death

From July 28, 2014 USA Today:
Whether you run 30 minutes a week or two hours a week, your risk of early death will be the same — better than if you don't run. Researchers found that running, no matter the duration or speed, will reduce mortality risk by about 30% compared with non-runners.
If the point of the study was that there is a point of diminishing returns, and it is fairly low (thirty minutes a week of running, or any other vigorous exercise, as the article later explains, gives you all the benefit of two hours a week), then it would be nice to know what that point of diminishing returns is.  Read literally, a person who runs three minutes a week gets all the cardiologic health benefits of running thirty minutes a week.  Sorry, but that is quite counterintuitive.

Still: even a bit of exercise is better than none.  In my case, I keep doing forty minutes a night on the treadmill because it helps me sleep, reduces my appetite, and lowers my blood pressure.

My cardiologist has reduced my blood pressure dosages in half because my blood pressure was too low.  Typically, my morning blood pressure is about 113/70, and my pulse is typically 60-66.


  1. You're eating low carb. Naturally your blood pressure is lower.

    As for the health "benefits" of cardio exercise, this is yet another observational study. Which means it can't tell us which way the causation, if any, occurs. Do people live longer because they run, or are healthy people more likely to run? We don't know, and this study not only doesn't, but can't, tell us.

  2. Jim Fix started the running craze many years ago, and I don't hear anyone mentioning that he dropped dead from a heart attack. He had been a smoker before, and you must remember that pumping blood fast through any narrowing in your arteries has the potential to kill you. I quit at 40, after surviving hantavirus. I walk now. Running was fun when the lungs were there. You have to figure the risks after you pass middle age.

  3. Running also puts wear and tear on the hips and knees, especially running on pavement. And runners often develop "shin splints", too. Even cushioned treadmills can be tough.

    If one must do aerobic exercise, an "elliptical" machine eliminates impact stress. So do stationary bikes. Or if one wants to get outside, regular bicycling.

    I don't run, but I bicycle about 10 miles a week (instead of driving).