Give Your Heart a Workout in 7 Minutes or Less
Do you have five minutes to spare? That may be all it takes to live a longer, heart-healthy life.
According to a recent study published in the Journal of American College of Cardiology, it may take as little as five minutes a day of strenuous exercise to improve your heart health and overall longevity.
Ready to get started? Grab a pair of running shoes and hit the road. Running, or even just fast walking, may be the easiest way to give your heart a quick workout.
The study looked at data from 55,000 adults over a 15-year period to determine if running has an impact on life expectancy. Here’s what researchers found:
Runners versus Non-Runners:
- Compared with non-runners, runners had a 30 percent lower risk of death from all causes and a 45 percent lower risk of death from heart disease or stroke.
- Runners lived, on average, three years longer than non-runners.
The Fast Track to Heart Health
“If you aren’t a runner now, remember that fast walking is a precursor to jogging and running, and offers heart benefits as well,” says Andrew P. Overman, PT, DPT, MS, COMT, CSCS.
Overman suggests that non-runners start with fast-paced walking, interspersed with periods/intervals of light jogging (for 30 seconds, for example).
“This will still help to strengthen your heart as you progress and elevate your heart rate, which will lead to heart benefits overall.”
Intensity Can Pave the Way to Longevity
More may not be better when it comes to the healthy heart benefits of running or strenuous activity in general. Timothy Church, MD, PhD, one of the study’s co-authors, noted that there is nothing “magical about running per se” and instead said that it is likely that exercise intensity is the key to improving longevity.
Church’s bottom line advice: If you are healthy enough, do at least five minutes of high-intensity exercise each day. “The benefits in terms of mortality are remarkable,” he said.
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