What if everybody ran? Good question.
It's one explored by a new University of North Carolina business school analysis, commissioned by running shoe maker Mizuno Running. (Because, duh, they want everybody to wear their running shoes.) MBA students used "existing academic studies of relationships between increased running or aerobic activity and other changes to predict the possible results of scaling running behavior to include the entire United States population," according to a paper they wrote about the project. They also admit, right up front, that many of the studies they used to compile their numbers do not prove causality. "As any good athlete would, we took some leaps of faith," they write.
Still. Faith-leaping or not, the results are pretty darn interesting. Mizuno posted them as a pretty slick-looking interactive video thingy (technical term), but here's the breakdown if you don't have the patience to sit through the entire thing.
If everybody ran, we would see ...:
• $130 billion in health care savings.
• An increase of more than $47 billion to the national GDP, with lost productivity due to sick days reduced by 50 percent, from 2.3 percent to 1.5 percent.
• Nearly 2 billion pounds of total weight loss.
• 10 percent increase in household earning potential.
• 5 million fewer hospital visits.
• 7 billion more hours spent outdoors.
• 18.7 percent fewer divorces annually, and 29.3 million happier marriages.
• 10 percent improvement in self-esteem among kids.
• 200 million inches lost from waistlines.
• 116,000 fewer hip replacements annually.
• 48.1 million fewer cigarettes smoked daily.
• 63 million happier dogs (because many running dog owners would take their pets for jogs, too).
• 135 million fewer hours of TV watched each week, and 14 billion fewer hours spent online each year.
• 135 million more bananas consumed.
• $4 billion increase in donations to charities.
The study is part of a larger "What If Everybody Ran" campaign by Mizuno, which includes the company's support of the nonprofit Back On My Feet, the running-mentoring program for the homeless that was started in Philly. There will be a national fundraising campaign tied to the "What If Everybody Ran" campaign in late spring.
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