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Br J Sports Med. 2019 Nov 4. pii: bjsports-2018-100493. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2018-100493. [Epub ahead of print]

Is running associated with a lower risk of all-cause, cardiovascular and cancer mortality, and is the more the better? A systematic review and meta-analysis.

Author information

1
Institute for Health and Sport, Victoria University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia Zeljko.Pedisic@vu.edu.au.
2
Institute for Health and Sport, Victoria University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
3
Charles Perkins Centre, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
4
Prevention Research Collaboration, School of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
5
Institute for Population and Social Research, Mahidol University, Nakorn Pathom, Thailand.
6
Institute of Sport Science, University of Graz, Graz, Austria.
7
Institute for Resilient Regions, Centre for Health, Informatics, and Economic Research, University of Southern Queensland, Springfield Central, Queensland, Australia.
8
UKK Institute for Health Promotion Research, Tampere, Finland.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To investigate the association of running participation and the dose of running with the risk of all-cause, cardiovascular and cancer mortality.

DESIGN:

Systematic review and meta-analysis.

DATA SOURCES:

Journal articles, conference papers and doctoral theses indexed in Academic Search Ultimate, CINAHL, Health Source: Nursing/Academic Edition, MasterFILE Complete, Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations, Open Access Theses and Dissertations, PsycINFO, PubMed/MEDLINE, Scopus, SPORTDiscus and Web of Science.

ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA FOR SELECTING STUDIES:

Prospective cohort studies on the association between running or jogging participation and the risk of all-cause, cardiovascular and/or cancer mortality in a non-clinical population of adults were included.

RESULTS:

Fourteen studies from six prospective cohorts with a pooled sample of 232 149 participants were included. In total, 25 951 deaths were recorded during 5.5-35 year follow-ups. Our meta-analysis showed that running participation is associated with 27%, 30% and 23% lower risk of all-cause (pooled adjusted hazard ratio (HR)=0.73; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.68 to 0.79), cardiovascular (HR=0.70; 95% CI 0.49 to 0.98) and cancer (HR=0.77; 95% CI 0.68 to 0.87) mortality, respectively, compared with no running. A meta-regression analysis showed no significant dose-response trends for weekly frequency, weekly duration, pace and the total volume of running.

CONCLUSION:

Increased rates of participation in running, regardless of its dose, would probably lead to substantial improvements in population health and longevity. Any amount of running, even just once a week, is better than no running, but higher doses of running may not necessarily be associated with greater mortality benefits.

KEYWORDS:

exercise; physical activity; running; sport; survival

Conflict of interest statement

Competing interests: None declared.

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