Researchers at the University of Colorado are convinced that running and even walking regularly can keep us living longer and healthier. According to theage.com, the study, which was published online journal Plos One, looked at men and women over the age of 65 who either walk or run for exercise. Researchers from Humboldt State University and the University of Colorado tested two mixed groups of older adults, who were either self-reported walkers or joggers, to see how difficult the participants found it to walk at three different speeds on a treadmill. The results showed that adults who ran had a seven to 10% better walking economy than the group of walkers – and they had a similar metabolic “cost” to people in their 20s.
While there’s nothing new about the benefits of exercise for health, the new study shows that you don’t have to join an expensive gym to stay fit and live long. All you need is a place to run or walk, or an in-home treadmill if weather is an option. In checking out the recent research we learned that older people who do regular aerobic activities such as running spend almost as many calories as people in their 20s due to a big increase in metabolism.
TheaAge.com cited Rodger Kram, a professor of Integrative Physiology at the University of Colorado in Boulder as saying, “The bottom line is that running keeps you younger, at least in terms of efficiency.” Certainly not every mature person will be able to run or jog, but health experts agree that daily or frequent walking can also be the key to longer lives.
We’re lucky in Los Angeles to have just the climate, parks, beaches, trails and fitness facilities to help keep us on the road to longevity like:
- Will Rogers State Historic Park—an187-acre, high chaparral- swathed woodland with an idyllic setting for hiking, picnicking or just plain nature loving. Moderate pacers can stroll the 3-mile loop to Inspiration Point. Fitter folks might prefer the more strenuous Backbone Trail that leads up to picturesque Point Magu. Be sure to visit Roger’s original home (1924-1935) and his adjacent private polo field where weekend matches are held year around. While not exactly in tune with nature, the park also provides Wi-Fi service for those who need to be connected at all times via laptop or PDA.
- Malibu Creek State Park—a 5,000-acre recreational center along 30 miles of trails inhabited by foxes, rabbits, bobcats, blue herons, hawks, redwing birds and more domesticated denizens of stage, screen and TV who frequent the trails. Twentieth Century Fox bought the land in the 1940s and turned into a location site for movies such as Love Is A Many Splendored Thing, Love Me Tender and Towering Inferno. Much of the TV series M*A*S*H was also shot near the edge of Malibu Lake near Rock Pool and Century Lake.
- Runyan Canyon—a countrified area that attracts an eclectic crowd of writers, actors, directors, and locals who arrive early in the morning, many with dogs on leashes and scripts in hand, to hike the abundant trails. Well-paved paths meander for miles up and around the Hollywood Hills. On clear days you can see Catalina Island, Pacific Palisades, downtown LA and snow capped mountains from any of a number of hilltops.
- Mandeville Canyon—a well trodden, challenging fire road, nestled in the hills above a high rent residential community, leads to a pretty park that was once the Nike Missile Site. The entire trek takes about two hours round trip but the view from the top is well worth the effort.
- Pacific Crest Trail—a picturesque 10.6-mile roundtrip trek reveals a sylvan slice of LA’s wild side replete with indigenous animal life, vanilla-scented groves, steep ridges and awesome views of Mt. Baldy’s 10,064-foot pinnacle and the east fork of the San Gabriel River.
So what are you waiting for, take a hike, run, walk or jog to longevity.