Overall, running reduces the risk of a fatal disease by 27 percent, with a 30 percent reduction in cardiovascular disease and a fall of 23 percent for any cancer.
You don't have to be running every day to achieve those health benefits. Even doing a run less than once a week, while maintaining a steady pace of 6 mph (8 km an hour) and doing it for 50 minutes or so, is enough.
Researchers from Victoria University in Australia looked at 14 studies, involving 232,149 people who had been tracked for up to 35 years. Those who did any running at all were less likely to suffer a fatal disease than a non-runner—and some were very occasional runners, running less than 50 minutes a week, which is 25 minutes less than the recommended amount.
Interestingly, the occasional runner who started to run more frequently didn't see any greater lowering of risk of a fatal disease.
So, any amount of running is better than none—and it's as beneficial as doing a lot of running, the researchers conclude.