Running is one of the most popular forms of exercise in America. It may also be one of the healthiest.

Numerous long-term studies — some involving thousands of participants — have shown that running benefits people physically and mentally. Research has also found that runners tend to live longer and have a lower risk for cardiovascular disease and cancer than nonrunners.

One might assume that in order to reap the biggest rewards, you need to regularly run long distances, but there’s strong evidence linking even very short, occasional runs to significant health benefits, particularly when it comes to longevity and mental well-being.

“We’ve found that going for something like a two-mile run a few times a week gets you pretty much the full benefit of running in terms of lower mortality,” said Dr. James H. O’Keefe, the director of preventive cardiology at Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas City, Mo.

Read the full New York Times article: Even Short Runs Have Major Health Benefits

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