As reported recently in Men’s Health, it turns out that for the average participant running can be good for your joints. Researchers tracked 75,000 runners and 15,000 walkers over 7 years and found that running decreased their risk of osteoarthritis-the joint degenerating condition most likely to put you in a wheelchair when you’re older and cuts your chances of needing a hip replacement in half.

The benefits for most likely come from two things:

Your body adapts to a brisk pace by building cartilage in your joints and crucially maintaining levels of proteoglycans in that cartilage which keep your joints cushioned and lubricated. Although most people gain weight as they age by maintaining active levels the weight gain drops by as much as 50% which further reduces that strain on joints, says lead researcher Paul Williams, Ph.D., of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. 

So how much do you need to run? Not far at all it turns out.

The biggest joint-protective benefits in runners who averaged 1 and 2.2 miles per day. You can exceed the current recommendations by as much as 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise. There is an old runner’s rule that states never add more than 10% each week to your total mileage or time that you run to stay healthy for a lifetime.