Most readers are aware that running for health has numerous benefits. Even the naysayers who point to the few potential health problems some runners occasionally face have to acknowledge the overall benefits of weight loss, cardio and bone strengthening as well as maintaining an energetic and youthful body outweigh the issues some runners experience.
Now there is new reason to celebrate a brisk jog around the block. Running can slow down the aging process and help the elderly walk better.
Researchers from the University of Colorado in Boulder report that a decline in walking performance is a major predictor of morbidity among the elderly. It is known that exercise is a good way to prevent and reverse health problems among older adults, but this study proved that fifteen volunteer runners over 65 showed 7 to 10% better walking efficiency at three different speeds than their counterpart group of fifteen over-65 volunteer walkers.
The study found that those who ran at least 30 minutes three times a week were less likely to have age-related physical decline in walking tests than walkers.
The researchers compared the results with an earlier study which included young and older sedentary adults under similar walking speeds. They found that the walking efficiency of the runners over 65 in the new study was similar to that of the sedentary young adults in the previous study.
The amount of energy required to move or “metabolic cost” naturally increases with age. The study’s co-author Rodger Kram, a professor of integrative physiology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, said, “What we found is that older adults who regularly participate in highly aerobic activities–running in particular–have a lower metabolic cost of walking than older, sedentary adults and also lower than seniors who regularly walk for exercise.”
“The bottom line is that running keeps you younger, at least in terms of efficiency,” stated Kram in a news release.
That’s one more reason to get out and jog for fitness at least 30 minutes three times a week. Elderly runners walk better than elderly walkers which is a predictor of a longer, healthier life.
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