Why running is such perfect cardio

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There was once a time, just a few decades ago, when few people ran to stay in shape. Today, running is almost synonymous with exercise. If your goal is to be fit and healthy, you’re either a runner or someone who’s planning to start running really soon (promise).

Running has become so popular, in part, because a mountain of evidence suggests it’s great for a long, disease-free life.

One 2014 study found that running is linked to a 45% drop in risk of death due to cardiovascular disease. “Runners on average lived three years longer compared to non-runners,” says study author D.C. Lee, an assistant professor of kinesiology at Iowa State University. Those mortality benefits held fairly steady regardless of how fast, how long or how often a person ran.

Lee and his colleagues just published a follow-up report showing even more impressive benefits. Running for about two hours each week was linked to three extra years of life. He and his coauthors also found that running outperforms walking, cycling and some other forms of aerobic exercise when it comes to lengthening life.

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