How Much Running is Enough? You'd Be Surprised How Little

Now THIS I find truly depressing.

Did you know that you only have to run 1.5 to three miles two or three times a week to be healthy?  So why am I killing myself doing 3-5 miles a DAY every day?

Granted, I'm proud of myself that in late middle age (late late?), I'm still able to do this.  Not that I run very fast.  In fact, some people have said, "I've seen you out walking."  As if.

I'm a little faster than that.  (But not much.)  I can do two miles in about 22 minutes.  Don't ask about the longer runs.

But Gretchen Reynolds wrote in the New York Times this week that all you need to stay healthy is that meager amount I mentioned in the beginning. She says the maximum benefits of running "occur at quite low doses," she says.

I have to admit I was proud when an ER doctor (yes, another fall from running) asked if I had any heart problems because my pulse was so slow.  (Me and Lance Armstrong!  We have the same beats per minute of our hearts -- 45!)  Most people's are in the 70's to 80's.  The less your heart beats, the longer it lasts, supposedly.  I come from a family of cardiac deaths.  We'll see.

What's the best mileage, really?  Three to six miles a week.   I do at least 20. 

Gretchen says that the reviewers found that even with such skimpy mileage, runners generally weighed less and had a lower risk of obesity than people who jogged fewer than five miles per week or (more commonly) not at all. These runners also were less likely to experience high blood pressure, cholesterol problems, diabetes, strokes, certain cancers and arthritis than the barely- or nonrunners.

I have to say it's not a great way to keep down the weight.  True, I'd probably be much heavier if I didn't exercise like I do.  But I'm no Twiggy (sorry, all you Millennials -- she was a stick of a girl when I was growing up).

I have added swimming and water aerobics to my exercise regime but running still gives me the best endorphin buzz.   Years ago, I used to have anxiety dreams about my apartment burning down and the only thing I saved was my running shoes!

So, am I going to cut my running short?  I don't think so.  Until the next broken wrist (or nose), I'm going to keep on jogging.   Or until my husband, as he keeps threatening after all the doctor bills, tosses them in the incinerator.  Yes, I may have to cut back the miles.


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