So everyone knows that running is good for you. It can increase your overall health, help you maintain a healthy weight, increase your bone mass, and relieve symptoms of depression. But some studies suggest that we may have taken our love of running too far – runners who clock in more than 20 miles per week are more likely to have shorter lifespans than those who run at a slower pace for a shorter distance.

Several studies have been released over the years, and all have been criticized for not taking other health factors (like BMI and smoking habits) into consideration. But in a new study conducted by Dr. Matsumura, co-director of the Cardiovascular Research Institute at the Lehigh Valley Health Network, researchers took into account a number of different factors – including the above mentioned, as well as medical history, use of anti-inflammatory medications, and heart risk factors – and found no difference between those who ran longer versus shorter distances.

The researchers paid careful attention to the use of NSAIDS (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications) because they’ve been linked to heart problems. However, they found that people who ran fewer miles used more of the painkillers. So no link there.

Matsumura is adamant that people do not need to give up running. Running still has a host of health benefits, and further study is needed. But he does encourage people to moderate their running – no more than 2 or 3 hours a week, and preferably at a slower pace. But really, the best advice is to listen to your body, and respond accordingly.

Image Credit: Peter van der Slujis