A U.S. study showed that running, even as little as five to 10 minutes a day, is associated with a lower risk of all-cause mortality.
Already in Ancient Greece, Galen proposed training programs alternating vigorous, gentle and fast exercises with slow exercises. The priority was health, not aesthetics or strength. The ‘paidotribo’, or doctor of the healthy – equivalent to today’s Physical Education graduate – also prescribed this modality. Although most people recognize that physical activity is beneficial, 40-80% of the general population (varies by country) remains sedentary.
Exercise -including running- induces hemodynamic, neurohormonal, metabolic and respiratory changes that improve cardiovascular performance, modify the risk profile and help prevent coronary heart disease. People who practice running on a regular basis tend to have healthier habits, with less overweight, smoking and alcohol consumption.
We know that high cholesterol is associated with arteriosclerosis, that LDL (‘bad’ cholesterol) levels are related to its deposit in the artery wall and that HDL (‘good’ cholesterol) is what eliminates it from the cells. Through exercise, LDL particles, which have a harmful effect, are transformed into HDL, which has a protective effect. In addition, triglycerides are converted into fatty acids and used as an energy source. Thus, studies on physically active people show that they have higher values of ‘good’ cholesterol and lower values of ‘bad’ cholesterol than sedentary people.
Physical exercise reduces blood pressure. This decrease accumulates as long as an exercise program is maintained, especially of a dynamic type (running, swimming, cycling), of moderate intensity.
In recent years, many people have taken up running in their spare time in order to obtain these important benefits. An American study showed that running, even as little as five to 10 minutes a day, is associated with a lower risk of all-cause mortality and cardiovascular mortality, and can add three years to life expectancy over a 15-year follow-up. This minimal but effective amount is great news for all of us whose main problem is lack of time.