Can Five-Minute Runs Really Benefit Your Health?
Recent studies suggest that even a small amount of vigorous exercise performed daily can provide significant health benefits. Running, for example, can lower blood pressure, decrease the production of glucose (and thus lower the risk of diabetes), and protect the innermost linings of the arteries, which helps to prevent blockages that can cause heart attacks and strokes. In fact, running for as little as five minutes a day on a regular basis can significantly lower your risk of dying prematurely from heart disease. This is great news for people who enjoy exercising but don’t have the time, as well as people who simply don’t see themselves as “runners.”
Researchers have found that, on average, runners gain approximately three years of life over their more sedentary counterparts. Remarkably, however, new studies show that this result seems to be the same regardless of how much or how little a person runs. Consider that:
- More is not necessarily better – People who run for as little as five minutes a day, at a leisurely pace of six miles per hour (a ten-minute mile), appear to reap the same benefits as elite runners who can cover a mile in six minutes or less, or spend hours out on the trails each week.
- Results are consistent among runners with various lifestyles – Even runners with negative health factors, such as smoking, obesity, and diabetes, are less likely to die from heart problems than similarly situated individuals who do not run.
- Consistency is key – People who run consistently for six years or longer seem to experience the most benefits.
Since a lack of time is one of the most commonly cited reasons for not participating in physical activities, this information might motivate more people to start running, and to continue to run to achieve an attainable health goal. Of course, before beginning any exercise program, it’s always best to consult with a doctor for advice and guidance. To key to avoiding injuries and other complications is training appropriately and increasing intensity gradually.
At South Tampa Immediate Care, our experienced medical staff can discuss your fitness level and recommend an appropriate regimen for you. Our walk-in clinic is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., and weekends, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and no appointment is ever necessary to see one of our doctors.