Benefits of a Little Running: Increased Life Span

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I recently found an article published by Iowa State reporting on a research study that calculated the life span increasing benefits of running. This article references a study performed at Iowa State University by Duck-chul Lee, PhD, et. al. that showed that running even for short durations can increase a person’s life span. (The study and abstract is available here: )


Dr Lee monitored over 50,000 individuals’ workout habits for a 15 year period. He then cross-referenced this with cause of death data for each individual to see if there was a relationship between running and life spans. Studies covering this many people over such a long period of time are very rare.


Compared with non-runners, runners had 30% and 45% lower adjusted risks of all-cause and cardiovascular mortality, respectively, with a 3-year life expectancy benefit. In layman’s terms, runners lived on average 3 years longer and were at reduced risk of death.


One of the interesting aspects of the study was that it found that the benefits of running will accrue to people that run for as little as 5-10 minutes a day (specifically, less than 51 minutes total per week) and at slower paces (less than 6 miles per hour). That was not a misprint. Running for just 10 minutes a day can increase your lifespan by 3 years on average.


A common excuses for skipping a workout is that there is not enough time. This study suggests that that excuse is no longer valid. Anyone can spare 10 minutes even on those hectic days when time is short and our to do list is long.
Everyone Loves to Run

Ten Minutes of Exercise with your Dog

Although the research was performed using humans, there is no doubt in my mind that similar proportional results would have been found if the subjects were dogs. Moderate to intense physical exercise is one of the most powerful ways (especially when combined with proper feeding) to prevent many forms of disease and prolong a pet’s life.


Now I bet that some readers are wondering if this means that your dog only needs 5-10 minutes of exercise a day to stay fit and healthy. The answer to that is an emphatic No! Most dogs (and humans) need more than just 5-10 minutes per day. However, it does suggest that short, intense workouts are a great option when you are short on time. And a far better option than skipping your dog’s workout altogether.


For those whose dogs are not runners, I suspect that similar benefits would be obtained from virtually any type of moderate to intense exercise. Exercise options like swimming, strength training and core work, and even brisk walking should have a similar impact on the body.


The next time you have a busy day, remember to set aside 10 minutes and go out for a run (or do something else physical) with your dog. It just might mean that you will have more time to spend together over the long haul.

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  1. How do you exercise your dogs in the winter? I live in Michigan and we have snow here from November till April. Not only snow but ice, I can’t take a chance on walk on ice and slipping or falling. I walk my dogs everyday in the good weather, but I can’t figure out how to exercise them in the cold, snow and ice. If anyone can share their ideas I would be grateful. Thank you

  2. You know we are all runners, some retired, some semi retired, but we all have our paws out running for many years with Mom. Bailie is loving it now. Mom recently read about knees and running where they found that running is actually good for your knees because it builds muscle, but the knee issues are coming from improper form and shoes. Unfortunately, she can’t remember where she read it, but ruining knees is a common excuse for people to use when they don’t want to run.
    Emma recently posted…Fit Fun For OneMy Profile

  3. Even when we have not much time somethimes, there is always time for a little run… and if we run instead to meander around we even save some time :o)
    easy rider recently posted…easyblog TREMENDOUS THURSDAYMy Profile

  4. Hi Y’all!

    Oh yes, run fun!

    Y’all come on by,
    Hawk aka BrownDog
    Hawk aka BrownDog recently posted…Winter Fitness!My Profile

  5. Interesting study. I love when you share these things!
    Winter is always great for me with exercise because I love getting the huskies out in the snow, and I let them pull my little girl around in a sleigh, so I am always jogging with them holding the leashes. It is great exercise!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!
    Jenna,Mark “HuskyCrazed” Drady recently posted…My husky LOVES the water!My Profile

  6. I just can’t find a way to enjoy running, but it’s fun to see how happy Barley is when she gets to run, so I try to at least incorporate a little jogging into some of our walks!
    Beth recently posted…RejuvenationMy Profile

  7. 10 minutes I think I can do ten minutes. Thanks for talking about this study.
    Sand Spring Chesapeakes recently posted…Senior Wellness ~ Nellie’s Health Series Part 6: Pulled TendonMy Profile

  8. Even if I tried to forget to run them, the pups would never let me.

  9. That is very interesting. My boy loves to run in the snow and I try to get him out doing that everyday. As he is part Husky, I am thinking of getting him a sled and then he could pull me behind him! Great article!
    Buddy recently posted…Please Be Careful Out ThereMy Profile

  10. We’ve been going on runs that are usually around 20 minutes long this month, but at one point we were doing a daily run AND walk for over a week, every single day. Since the goal was consistency of days we definitely did a couple days of 5-10 minute runs, especially on one day when it was just freezing outside. Anyway, the positive health effects are tangible; we feel (and look) great! *wags* – Gilligan from
    Gilligan recently posted…A Short Leash for a Fit WienerMy Profile

  11. We’re sure there’s some truth to the study but we don’t think a whole lot about running, it just never looks like people are enjoying themselves. I personally would love to run with my mom, but walking is just fine! Love Dolly
    Dolly the Doxie recently posted…Obesity in Pets Leads to Serious Medical ConditionsMy Profile

  12. I hate running…blech!
    I used to do cross country all through school and into college, I ran a couple half marathons, did a half iron with my whole family loves to run.
    And finally quit and started doing MMA instead. Well recently i’ve been so busy working on graduating with my Bachelors that I haven’t been able to make it into the gym so i’m back to running.
    On a good note the dogs love it! And we both get our exercise in at the same time which is a bonus. Yesterday we ran for 45 min! 🙂
    DZ Dogs recently posted…Ethics of Hiking with DogsMy Profile

  13. We are just now starting to incorporate a bit of running in with our everyday walking! Great to know that not only does it feel good, it can help us live longer too!
    Dory, Jakey, Arty & Bilbo
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  14. This is great information, because a lack of time is a common excuse to not work out. It always frustrates me when they put forth difficult to achieve goals because I think that just makes a lot of people not even try at all. With the really cold weather we’ve had, sometimes the dogs and I only get out for 10-15 minutes at a time, and I’d hate for anyone to tell me that that is just a waste of time.
    Jan K recently posted…Clicker Training – A Positive Experience (Part 6) – Training MistakesMy Profile

  15. Mom is a fast walker, not a runner, but when we get somewhere where I can cut loose–look out!! And we do at least 2 fast walks a day on top of trips to places where I can run.
    Sage recently posted…Fairy FallsMy Profile

  16. So true ~ lack of time is always a bad excuse.
    I read the skipping part in one of your answers to a comment ~ I really like skipping with the pups! We do that when we’re out in the yard, and Missy will hop next to and around me like a little bunny. It’s super cute!
    Barbara Rivers recently posted…Rollerblading With Your Best Friend!My Profile

  17. Great post. I hate running and knees bad, but Kilo loves sprinting and we absolutely have to do at least 10 min exercise every 2 hours or he does nutty (and would get very fat) Have a great weekend Susie

  18. Harley isn’t much of a runner however, I am finding out he enjoys running if there is a game involved. It’s great for him but since he’s running around in circles or back and forth, how do I get increased exercise that way? Any suggestions?
    Groovy Goldendoodles recently posted…PET PRINTS 3D | PRODUCT REVIEWMy Profile

    • If Harley likes games, why not turn your run with him into a game? If you live near a park or trails, you can mix in intervals and turn it into ‘chase’ or even a mini game of ‘hide’.

      Otherwise, try setting up some cones in your yard and do some agility drills with Harley. We use the cones with Jack and do an assortment of drills together. They are fun and beneficial in that they work often neglected assistance muscles. We have written many posts on how do do this. Here is a link to one of those articles

      There are several others- this link will pull up all articles on exercise:

      Good luck!
      steve recently posted…J.J. Fuds Dog Food RecallMy Profile

  19. I’m hoping my new job and new schedule will allow me to get back to my 45-minute cardio walk through the hilly streets of my neighborhood. We just need the weather to cooperate.

    –Wags (and purrs) from Life
    with Dogs and Cats
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  20. Due to my knees and back, I didn\’t think I would ever be able to run again. I discovered a pain management routine that is working, and bought a pair of the ultra padded Hoka One One shoes, and was able to run for about 3 minutes the other day. Chester was my running partner when he was young but he has a hard time keeping up now. Gretel loves running though so she is my running buddy. I like that it\’s improving her health too.

  21. That manuscript was a great find. Cool! I wonder if my biking will do the same thing! 🙂
    KB recently posted…Siblings Snoozing in a Sunpuddle on SundayMy Profile

    • I think you can be confident your mountain biking provides lots of benefits.
      mkob recently posted…Pedigree Dog Health IssuesMy Profile

  22. As you know, I am a runner. I’m not necessarily always into distance running, but it’s good to know even 10 minutes a day makes a huge difference! I would agree that it also makes a huge difference for dogs. Although, I remember reading a funny cartoon one time that said something like “Runners live longer … but they waste 10 of those years running.” Yes, that may be somewhat true!
    Lindsay recently posted…What do you think of GoDaddy’s Super Bowl puppy ad?My Profile

    • Love that saying! I’m not a big runner like SlimDoggy Steve, so I was glad to see that 10 minutes gives me some benefits.
      mkob recently posted…What are Functional Foods?My Profile

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