Running can greatly reduce the risk of dying from cancer, cardiovascular disease - study

It's torture for some, a way of life for others - whether it's a love or hate relationship, jogging could save lives.

New research has found that running can greatly reduce the risk of dying from certain diseases.

Whether it's a few minutes or a marathon, jogging could stave off some of the biggest killers - regardless of how long the run is. 

Research shows that even small amounts of exercise can slash the chances of dying from cardiovascular disease and cancer.

"It's good for mental health, it's good for cardiovascular health, good for muscle health," says Rebecca Meiring from the University of Auckland.

The research, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, studied more than 230,000 people. It found less than 50 minutes of running a week could have significant benefits.

"You're swinging your arms and your legs, you get foot contact with the ground, all of your muscles are working and pumping blood around your body," says Stu Ross, the owner of the Body Refinery.

The study found any amount of running decreased the risk of death overall by 27 percent. The likelihood of dying from cardiovascular disease fell 30 percent and dying from cancer reduced by 23 percent.

To lead a healthy lifestyle, it's generally recommended to get in 2.5 hours of exercise per week. Unfortunately, there is no answer for a minimum amount of weekly exercise - but there is a small hack.

"Telling people just to move more and sit less, it would be better to get off the couch and do something rather than nothing," Meiring advises.

For those feeling inspired, Ross recommends to "start slow".

"Start slow, even start with walking then interval training, to 5 kilometres and then beyond," he says.

A little short-term pain could be well worth some long-term gain.