Run 20 Minutes a Day to Ward Off Heart Disease

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Research shows carving out even a small chunk of time to sweat has some serious health benefits.

As we age, it can become harder and harder to make exercise a priority. With full time jobs, family responsibilities, and busy social lives, working out regularly can take a back seat—even if we don’t mean for it to happen. But new research highlights just how important continuing to make time for running is for your heart—especially for those over 60.

The study, published in the European Heart Journal, included more than 1.1 million people ages 60 or older with records from the National Health Insurance Service (NHIS) in South Korea who had no history of cardiovascular disease at the time their records were first entered.

When researchers analyzed these records in the subsequent years, they found a correlation between the amount of physical activity people performed and their risk of stroke and heart disease. Specifically, those who got moderate exercise (30 minutes or more a day of brisk walking, dancing, or gardening) or vigorous exercise (20 minutes or more a day of running, fast cycling, aerobic exercise) were 11 percent less likely to develop heart disease or have a stroke. However, those who got less than that were 27 percent more likely to develop heart or blood vessel problems.

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