We're always on the lookout for new data about exercise—especially data that supports the "less is more" outlook. So it was a banner day for us when the International Journal of Epidemiology published their findings that even one minute of running per day (yes, you read that right) can have major perks for your health.
While running for the amount of time it takes to watch a TV commercial is admittedly not going to have much impact on your weight—for that, you'll probably want to run our recommended 3 miles per week—scientists at the University of Exeter and the University of Leicester found that it did have an impact on another sign of bodily health.
After studying over 2,500 women, researchers found that those who did "brief bursts" of "high-intensity PA (physical activity)" showed better bone health than those who didn't. But the true kicker? Even 60-120 seconds of this activity made a difference. As the study concludes, "Accumulating 1–2 minutes/day of high-intensity PA, equivalent to running in pre-menopausal women and slow jogging in post-menopausal women, is associated with better bone health."
This finding is particularly significant because bone health is one of the leading concerns affecting women today. In fact, WebMD lists osteoporosis as one of the top five health issues for women. Of the 44 million Americans at risk for osteoporosis today, 68% are women. Doctors agree, however, that it is "largely preventable", in part by developing good habits such as "adequate calcium consumption and weight-bearing physical activity," according to Saralyn Mark, MD.
While further research is needed to find out if the relationship between running and bone health can be classified as causation or simply correlation, there's really no reason to wait for the verdict. If there's even a chance you can improve your bone health in just sixty seconds a day, why wait?
Ready to get your run on? Check out Erin Andrews' treadmill interval workout.