Running first thing in the morning or straight after work can seem like a slog. But what if doing it for just seven minutes could already have a huge impact on your health? A new study suggests a short run, even at a slow pace, could dramatically decrease your chance of heart disease.

Iowa University conducted a study with 55,137 adults aged between 18 and 100 and the result was that exercise did not have to leave you shattered in order to benefit your health.

The long-term research followed the lives of the people involved over 15 years. During this time, over 3,000 died, with 1,217 deaths linked to heart disease.

Runners made up just under a quarter of the study population and results showed their general health and lifespan to be much better and higher. Runners’ risk of heart disease and stroke was 45 percent lower than non-runners and there was a decrease in risk of death from all causes by 30 percent. Runners also lived, on average, three years longer.

Just seven minutes a day could lead to a longer life! ©Cover Media

All that was needed was around 51 minutes a week. This works out at just seven per day. Running slower than six miles an hour for fewer than six miles a week also reduced the risk of death.

Unfortunately there’s some bad news for those putting in more effort – those who ran for less than an hour per week benefited just as much as those who ran for more than three hours a week (don’t let that put you off though!)

But the great news is that this study could finally motivate those who don’t think they have enough time to squeeze in a workout.

“Since time is one of the strongest barriers to participate in physical activity, the study may motivate more people to start running and continue to run as an attainable health goal for mortality benefits,” lead scientist Dr Duck-Chul Lee said.

“Running may be a better exercise option than more moderate intensity exercises for healthy but sedentary people.

“[This is because] it produces similar, if not greater, mortality benefits in five to ten minutes, compared to the 15 to 20 minutes per day of moderate intensity activity that many find too time consuming.”

If you walk to and from work or the station every morning, consider using this time to squeeze in a quick run. Pack some trainers to change into after work and build just ten minutes of jogging in a day. ©Cover Media