Just Get Moving: It Doesn’t Take a Lot of Running to Benefit

All you need to do to gain the lion’s share of health benefits from running and exercise is just to start moving, say a pair of news stories that were published recently in the New York Times and ABC News.

The first story, reported on ABC News’s website this weekend, looks at a Danish research study on the benefits of cardiovascular exercise in a study called the Copenhagen City Heart Study, which has tracked the heart health of more than 19,000 participants since 1976. All you need to benefit and live a longer, healthier life — and add as much as six years to your lifespan — is to get out and run for an hour a week, the research suggests:

“We can say with certainty that regular jogging increases longevity. The good news is that you don’t actually need to do that much to reap the benefits.”

Read the full story on ABCNews.com here.

The ‘First 20 Minutes’ are the most important

The second story I came across this weekend that I found fascinating was an interview with The New York Times’s Gretchen Reynolds, who authors a weekly column in the paper’s Health section as well as writing a popular blog for its website called “PhysEd.” She’s compiled the wisdom she’s learned through a 20-year career of writing and reporting on health, fitness and exercise for the paper, and learned that it’s possible we need to exercise less, and not more, to stay healthy and fit.

For the vast majority of people who are sedentary — and that likely describes the vast majority of Americans — running a marathon or sweating it out on an exercise bike at the gym isn’t necessary to become more fit, adds Reynolds:

“This is a book about how little exercise you can do in order to get lots and lots of health benefits. Two-thirds of Americans get no exercise at all. If one of those people gets up and moves around for 20 minutes, they are going to get a huge number of health benefits, and everything beyond that 20 minutes is, to some degree, gravy.”

Learn more about the book and the surprising things she’s learned over the years about the health benefits of exercise on the New York Times website.

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