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If Everyone in the U.S. Did THIS Exercise We’d Lose 2 Billion Pounds

By JESS BARRON

It seems at least once a week I hear people spewing opinions about how badly things are going in the U.S. — either with healthcare or with the economy. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was something we could do that would instantly help to make the country a better place?

A new study says that there is something that some of us already do, and if we all started doing it, we could make an amazing impact on the economy, healthcare and people’s emotional and physical well-being.

For example, if everybody in America did this particular exercise, we’d have 29 million happier marriages, 163,607 fewer divorces each year, 5 million fewer hospital visits per year, 6 million less tons of pollution, 7 billion more hours spent outdoors, 63 million happier dogs and we’d collectively lose 2 billion pounds.

So, what is this mysterious activity that we'd all need to be doing to reap those rewards? It's running. (Yep, “Forrest Gump” had it right all along.)

Would you have guessed that?

If you’re a runner yourself, I bet your answer would’ve been “Heck yeah!” We runners know how good going for a run makes us feel. Still, there are plenty of people (maybe even you?) who don't like (and OK yes, possibly even hate) running, perhaps due to the side stitches, blisters and muscle cramps that can sometimes come along with pounding your feet on the pavement in rapid succession.

Could this new information help to convince the haters to give running another try?woman_runner556

The athletic apparel company Mizuno recently partnered with MBA students at the University of North Carolina to get some science-backed statistics on what the world would look like if everyone in the United States was a runner.  They spent a month analyzing U.S. Census data and existing studies to determine how running impacts our physical and emotional health, relationships and the American economy.

What they discovered was eye-opening.

If all 270 million Americans (with the physical ability to do so) began a regular running routine, we could hypothetically see:

    * an increase in life expectancy of 5.6 more years for women (and 6.2 years for men)
    * 200 million inches lost from our waistlines
    * 163,607 fewer divorces each year
    * 27 million more sunrises seen per week
    * 48.1 million fewer cigarettes smoked daily
    * 20 million more (living) grandmothers
    * 7 billion more hours spent outdoors
    * $143 billion saved in health care costs
    * 60 million more pounds of pasta eaten(!)
    * 10 percent more earning potential in the average household.

 

If you’re anything like me, you might be asking yourself, “How can everyone running cause there to be 163,607 fewer divorces each year?”

Here’s how the UNC report “What If Everybody Ran?” explains it:

“According to the Census Bureau, 56 percent of divorced couples say arguing was a primary cause for divorce. With an expected reduction in anger and increase in overall mood from running, couples would have fewer arguments and therefore fewer divorces caused by arguments. For our purposes, we assumed that an 83 percent decrease in anger might lead to a one-third reduction in the total number of arguments among married couples. In 2011, there were 877,000 divorces in the U.S. If everybody ran, we might see 163,607 (or 18.7 percent) fewer divorces annually.”

Sounds good to me. How about you? Shall we head out for a run? See you out there!

Check out the infographic below (and please feel free to share it on Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook), and visit Mizuno's microsite IfEverybodyRan.com for a fun interactive experience and more great information. You can also tweet using the hashtag #IfEverybodyRan.

What If Everyone Ran Infographic

–Jess

Readers - Are you a runner? What keeps you motivated to run, and what kind of mileage are you aiming for each week? If you hate running, let us know why! Also, do you think this information and infographic above would get you to change your mind and try running again or running more?  Why or why not? Leave a comment below and let us know.

Jess Barron is Editor-in-Chief of LIVESTRONG.COM. Read some of her other health and fitness articles here. A longtime foodie and fan of Farmer's Market food, Jess particularly loves heirloom tomatoes, fresh figs with burrata cheese, and anything with pumpkin or peanut butter in it! Her love for food fuels her desire to exercise daily. In the summer of 2012 Jess lost 20 pounds in a test group for a new fitness program. Some of her favorite workout routines include walking, running, yoga, P90X, INSANITY, and mixed martial arts. Jess's writing can also be found at Poprocks.com. She has appeared on MSNBC's "The Most," ABC News Now, and XM satellite radio and her writing has appeared on Wired.com and Yahoo!

Follow Jess on Twitter @jessdandy. Also, you can add her on Google+ and follow her on Pinterest.

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