With thousands of runners having completed the New York City Marathon this past weekend, Fitbit decided to take a closer look at the health benefits of running. It found that whether you’re a performance athlete or lacing up your running shoes for the first time, the sport provides some surprisingly quantifiable health benefits.
Fitbit’s research team analyzed the aggregated and anonymized data of more than 1,000,000 users in 2015 and found the following results:
1. Runners are more fit! They have a resting heart rate that is about four beats per minute lower than the average Fitbit user who doesn’t run.
2. Runners who run more are healthier! For every run a surveyed Fitbit user ran per week, their resting heart rate lowered by 0.9 beats per minute. Users who ran three times per week had resting heart rates of about 1.8 beats per minute lower than those who ran just once per week. For each mile users run in their regular running routine, their resting heart rate decreased by an additional 0.75 beats per minute.
3. You don’t have to be in first place to be fit! The typical pace of a Fitbit runner is 10:20 per mile, equivalent to a marathon finishing time of 4 hours 30 minutes.