Meta-analyses of the effects of habitual running on indices of health in physically inactive adults
Junior, Luiz Carlos Hespanhol
Pillay, Julian David
van Mechelen, Willem
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Abstract Background In order to implement running to promote physical activity, it is essential to quantify the extent to which running improves health. Objective The aim was to summarise the literature on the effects of endurance running on biomedical indices of health in physically inactive adults. Data Sources Electronic searches were conducted in October 2014 on PubMed, Embase, CINAHL, SPORTDiscus, PEDro, the Cochrane Library and LILACS, with no limits of date and language of publication. Study Selection Randomised controlled trials (with a minimum of 8 weeks of running training) that included physically inactive but healthy adults (18–65 years) were selected. The studies needed to compare intervention (i.e.endurance running) and control (i.e. no intervention) groups. Study Appraisal and Synthesis Methods Two authors evaluated study eligibility, extracted data, and assessed risk of bias; a third author resolved any uncertainties. Random-effects meta-analyses were performed to summarise the estimates for length of training and sex. A dose-response analysis was performed with random-effects meta-regres-sion in order to investigate the relationship between run-ning characteristics and effect sizes. Results After screening 22,380 records, 49 articles were included, of which 35 were used to combine data on ten biomedical indices of health. On average the running programs were composed of 3.7 ± 0.9 sessions/week, 2.3 ± 1.0 h/week, 14.4 ± 5.4 km/week, at 60–90 % of the maximum heart rate, and lasted 21.5 ± 16.8 weeks. After 1 year of training, running was effective in reducing body mass by 3.3 kg [95 % conﬁdence interval (CI) 4.1–2.5], body fat by 2.7 % (95 % CI 5.1–0.2), resting heart rate by 6.7 min-1 (95 % CI 10.3–3.0) and triglycerides by 16.9 mg dl-1 (95 % CI 28.1–5.6). Also, running signiﬁcantly increased maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) by 7.1 ml min-1 kg-1 (95 % CI 5.0–9.1) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol by 3.3 mg dl-1 (95 % CI 1.2–5.4). No signiﬁcant effect was found for lean body mass, body mass index, total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol after 1 year of training. In the dose-response analysis, larger effect sizes were found for longer length of training. Limitations It was only possible to combine the data of ten out the 161 outcome measures identiﬁed. Lack of information on training characteristics precluded a multi-variate model in the dose-response analysis. Conclusions Endurance running was effective in provid-ing substantial beneﬁcial effects on body mass, body fat,resting heart rate, VO2max, triglycerides and HDL choles-terol in physically inactive adults. The longer the length of training, the larger the achieved health beneﬁts. Clinicians and health authorities can use this information to advise individuals to run, and to support policies towards invest-ing in running programs.
Junior, L.C.H. et al. 2015. Meta-analyses of the effects of habitual running on indices of health in physically inactive adults. Sports Medicine. 45: 1455–1468