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It’s official: This type of exercise adds the most years to your life


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Photo: TIm Gibson for Well+Good

Every fitness tribe has its own special benefits, but when it comes to increasing life span, scientists are pointing to one type of exercise in particular: running. Yep, love it or hate it, various studies have found that runners live about three years longer than non-runners, the New York Times reports.

One of the studies, published in Progress in Cardiovascular Disease, found that running lowered the risk of a premature death by a whopping 40 percent. Wondering exactly how much treadmill time you have to log for it to count? Good news: As little as five minutes a day has been linked to greater longevity.

As little as five minutes a day has been linked to greater longevity.

Researchers calculated that if you run two hours a week, it can add a little more than three years to your life. But their findings don’t necessarily mean that the more you run, the longer you live. Actually, the benefits plateau at running four hours a week.

Of course, cardio in general is good for your heart, and when it came to other activities, like walking or spinning, researchers still found that it adds years to your life, but it only lowered the risk of a premature death by 12 percent (as opposed to running’s impressive 40 percent).

The big takeaway is to keep moving—and maybe don’t complain as much during that treadmill interval at Barry’s. After all, it’s adding years to your life.

Originally published April 12, 2017. Updated July 3, 2018.

Eating the right foods increases life span, too—and can also make you smarter.

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