LIFESTYLE

How Just An Hour Of 'Lazy Running' A Week Can Keep You Healthy

29/07/2014 11:02 BST | Updated 29/07/2014 11:59 BST
Maridav via Getty Images

If the thought of working out next to lycra-clad gym buffs fills you with dread, then it's time to think again.

New research has shown that even 'lazy jogging' (running at a slow speed and for short periods of time) can reduce the risk of heart disease.

The findings, from a study of 55,137 adults aged 18 to 100, suggest that healthy exercise does not necessarily have to be exhausting or time-consuming.

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People who ran for less than an hour a week benefited as much as those running more than three hours a week.

US lead scientist Dr Duck-Chul Lee, from Iowa State University, said: "Since time is one of the strongest barriers to participate in physical activity, the study may motivate more people to start running and continue to run as an attainable health goal for mortality benefits.

"Running may be a better exercise option than more moderate intensity exercises for healthy but sedentary people since it produces similar, if not greater, mortality benefits in five to 10 minutes compared to the 15 to 20 minutes per day of moderate intensity activity that many find too time consuming."

Study participants who ran regularly for an average of six years experienced the biggest benefit, the researchers found. Their risk of death from heart disease or stroke was reduced by 50%.

Christopher Allen, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: "Protecting ourselves against life-changing conditions like a heart attack or stroke should be everyone's top priority. But the reality is not everyone is managing to achieve their 150 minutes of physical activity a week.

"What this study proves is that when it comes to keeping physically active, every step counts towards helping you maintain a healthier heart.

"Breaking your exercise down into 10 minute chunks can make this goal much more achievable and can help prolong your life by reducing your risk of dying from cardiovascular disease."