Heart Health

Reaping the rewards of running

This high-intensity exercise boosts your cardiovascular fitness and health faster and better than walking. But beginners should make sure to run safely.

By , Executive Editor, Harvard Heart Letter

photo of three friends running side by side on a road through a park

About 50 million Americans say they participate in some form of running or jogging, which means it ranks among the most popular forms of exercise. But while running has many health benefits (especially for your heart), it’s a high-impact activity that carries a higher risk of injury than walking and other low-impact exercise.

That’s especially true for middle-aged and older people, who also have a higher baseline risk for heart disease than their younger counterparts, says Dr. Neal Lakdawala, a cardiologist at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital who will be running his 12th marathon this spring.

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About the Author

photo of Julie Corliss

Julie Corliss, Executive Editor, Harvard Heart Letter

Julie Corliss is the executive editor of the Harvard Heart Letter. Before working at Harvard, she was a medical writer and editor at HealthNews, a consumer newsletter affiliated with The New England Journal of Medicine. She … See Full Bio
View all posts by Julie Corliss

About the Reviewer

photo of Christopher P. Cannon, MD

Christopher P. Cannon, MD, Editor in Chief, Harvard Heart Letter; Editorial Advisory Board Member, Harvard Health Publishing

Dr. Christopher P. Cannon is editor in chief of the Harvard Heart Letter. He is a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, and senior physician in the Preventive Cardiology section of the Cardiovascular Division at … See Full Bio
View all posts by Christopher P. Cannon, MD

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No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

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