If you're having a hard time motivating yourself to get your sneakers on and hit the treadmill, here's some awesome news. According to new research, running for just one minute a day is linked to improved bone health in women, reducing the risk of osteoporosis and fractures.
The study evaluated more than 2,500 women, and those who did brief bursts of high-intensity, weight-bearing activity (such as a medium-paced run for premenopausal women or a slow jog for postmenopausal women) for one to two minutes each day had 4 percent better bone health than those who did less than a minute. For those who could sustain running for more than two minutes a day, the results were even better: 6 percent better bone health as compared with that of the participants who didn't exercise.
Even just a couple of minutes of running has benefits for your body. (Though the researchers say they can't be sure whether the high-intensity physical activity led to better bone health or whether those with better bone health tend to do more high-intensity activity.) Whether physical activity must be done daily to reap the benefits or whether more minutes of exercise on one day — and allowing for rest days — is better for bone health warrants further research.
In the meantime, a simple way to incorporate a one-minute daily run is to vary the pace of your walking. "We would suggest adding a few running steps to the walk, a bit like you might if you were running to catch a bus," said lead author Dr. Victoria Stiles of the University of Exeter.
And if better bone health wasn't enough of a reason to quicken the pace, consider some other perks running can provide, such as lowered risk of memory loss, improved mood and even longer life.