A wise woman once wrote: "Work, Sleep, Family, Fitness, or Friends: Pick 3."
I remember when I was running a media startup while simultaneously studying for the bar exam.
Something had to give, I thought to myself. There just weren't enough hours in the day.
So for a while, I skimped on sleep and rarely got the chance to work out.
It had an effect. It wasn't positive.
Just once per week
I know it's a common entrepreneur's dilemma.
And while you're working hard and building a company, the idea that you're neglecting your health is always right below the surface.
That's why I was heartened to learn about a study that suggests people who go for a run just once a week can reduce risk of death from any cause by as much as 27 percent.
Researchers studied 232,149 people over a period of between 5.5 and as much as 35 years, and found that those who made a habit of running once per week had a significantly lower death rate than those who didn't.
"Increased rates of participation in running, regardless of its dose, would probably lead to substantial improvements in population health and longevity," the study authors wrote. "Any amount of running, even just once a week, is better than not running."
Interestingly, going beyond one running workout a week "may not necessarily be associated with greater mortality benefits," the study authors wrote.
"This is good news for the many adults who find it hard to find time for exercise," Elaine Murtagh, an exercise physiologist at Mary Immaculate College in Ireland (not involved in the study), told Science News, where I first learned of the study. "Any amount of running is better than none."
Now, granted, there might be something elsethat contradicts that last point.
I wrote two years ago about another study that found that people who engage in 30 minutes of jogging for women, or 40 minutes of jogging for men, for five days per week, end up with bodies that act (from a physiological standpoint) as if they were nine years younger.
In that case, more running meant more benefit. But the commonality between both studies seems to be that some is a lot better than none.
Once is more than never
The more recent study was published recently in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
The positive thing I find from it is simply that once a week isn't that much to ask.
I think what holds some people back -- it certainly has for me, when I'm at the nadir of my "volume of workouts" effort -- is the idea that if you can't commit to doing more than the minimum, what's the point?
I mean, a 2- or 3-mile run once a week isn't going to do much to keep you in shape, or help you lose weight. It's not going to improve your speed very much if that's all you do.
But that's okay. It's not the goal.
Instead, the idea seems to be to engage in a modicum of fitness effort, no matter how busy you are otherwise. That seams a reasonable and worth objective.
Work out a bit. Live a little longer. And have more time to pursue whatever it is you want to chase on this planet to begin with.