It is easy to shrug off the idea of exerting yourself physically by asking just how much difference that painful jog around the block will actually make.
Is puffing through a 5k really going to give you any longterm health benefits, you ask?
Well, sadly for your Netflix habit, yes.
A new study has found that, compared to non-runners, runners tended to live about three years longer, even if they are running slowly and infrequently and even if they smoke, drink or are overweight.
Researchers compared the benefits with other forms of exercise and found that no other workout showed such profound effects on lifespan.
In the study, published last month in health journal Progress in Cardiovascular Disease, lead author Dr. Lee analysed data from the Cooper Institute and results from other large recent studies which examined exercise and mortality.
The New York Times reports that, "Cumulatively, the data indicated that running, whatever someone's pace or mileage, dropped a person's risk of premature death by almost 40 percent, a benefit that held true even when the researchers controlled for smoking, drinking and a history of health problems such as hypertension or obesity."
Researchers concluded that had every non-runner taken up the sport there would have been 16 per cent fewer deaths and 25 per cent fewer fatal heart attacks.
"An hour of running statistically lengthens life expectancy by seven hours", the researchers report but adds that the benefits "are not infinite"according to Dr. Lee says. "Running does not make people immortal. The gains in life expectancy are capped at around three extra years" regardless of how much people run.
Whilst running of course won't protect you from things like hereditary disease or accidents, the research shows that it does fight against common causes of premature death such as high blood pressure and extra body fat. Dr Lee commented that runners do lead healthier lives in general and whilst this may be a factor at play, but the occasional jog is looking like pretty good bet.
From: Esquire UK