Want to lower your risk of premature death significantly? Go from being a couch potato to being a runner – even a (very) short distance one. A study in Dallas found that people who engaged in little to no strenuous exercise, when compared to those who ran daily for as little as five to 10 minutes, had a 30 percent higher risk of dying. When the cause of death was heart disease, the number went up to 45 percent.
While running can be hard on the joints, knees and kidneys, it is an efficient high-intensity form of exercise that quickly increases fitness and may be a good option for those with little time to exercise. An added bonus is that it can also act as an anti-depressant. While I prefer swimming or biking, many people do enjoy running. To minimize the risk of injury, try the following:
- Limit running on concrete and instead opt for running tracks or cinder or dirt paths.
- Always wear well-made running shoes designed to minimize shock to the joints; replace the shoes when their cushioning begins to fail.
- If you develop pain in any joints, cut back or stop running until you determine the reason for the pain.