You probably know that running is good for you. It’s an awesome form of cardiovascular exercise (remember, the American Heart Association suggests you get 150 moderate-intensity or 70 high-intensity minutes per week), and the runner’s high is a real thing. On top of that, it’s been known for a while that running can help extend your life. But researchers wanted to look into exactly how much longer runners live and how much they needed to run to get those longevity benefits, along with how running compares to other forms of exercise.
In a review recently published in Progress in Cardiovascular Disease, the authors took a closer look at past data to get more info about how running affects mortality, and it looks like runners live an average of 3.2 years longer than non-runners. Whats more, people didn’t need to run for a crazy-long time to get the benefits. Generally, the people in the study only ran about two hours a week. For most runners, two hours of running is equal to about 12 miles per week, which is definitely doable if you’re committed to getting your sweat on two or three times a week. The researchers even took it a step further, using the dating to say that for every cumulative hour you run, you get seven additional hours of life. That’s a seriously great incentive to hop on the treadmill.
While other forms of exercise (cycling and walking) increased lifespan too, running had the biggest benefit, though it stands to reason that the intensity of cardio plays a part. So if you really hate running, make sure you’re logging your cardio at a similar intensity.
But if you still haven’t gotten around to sign up for that 10K you’ve had your eyes on, let this be the kick in the glutes you’ve been waiting for. And if living longer isn’t enough motivation to grab your sneakers and hit the open road, check out these inspiring runners to follow on Instagram.