Running does not damage the joints and can provide many benefits even after age 60.
One study showed that older runners have similar oxygen consumption as younger walkers.
An efficient metabolism makes physical activity less wasteful, promoting better cardiovascular health even in old age.
Some negative myths die hard: like that running ruins joints or is an activity best done until a certain age.
Neither is true: as we have already explained here, running is not bad for your joints, at most it wears them out more than staying sprawled on the couch, an activity that however does much worse to your cardiovascular system. Would you rather have a heart and respiratory system compromised by inactivity and lack of exercise or some joint pains?
Back to us: research shows that running when you are over 60 is not only good for you but also extends your life.
Science says that…
Specifically, a 2014 research published in PLOS (The Public Library of Science) and based on analysis of the physical state of a group of over-65s, tested oxygen consumption as the subjects walked on threadmills at different gaits.
The group consisted of both runners and people who did not exercise. Not surprisingly, runners turned out to be more efficient walkers. What is more significant, however, is that their oxygen consumption was comparable to those of 20-year-old walkers. Running in short sets your biological clock back, at least relative to the activity of walking alone, by at least 40 years. Not bad!
Untrained walkers, on the other hand, consumed 7 to 10% more oxygen than their fellow runners for the same effort.
The explanation is very simple: those who are accustomed to aerobic activities have a more efficient metabolism and therefore approach each physical activity with a lower metabolic cost. In other words, the more efficient the metabolism, the less oxygen is consumed for the same amount of effort. Do you want an even simpler example? Think back to when you weren’t running and you were out of shape and when took three flights of stairs – uphill of course – you’d get to the top breathlessness, right? If you are trained, on the other hand, you feel the exertion much less and, having reached your destination, you are not on the verge of croaking from fatigue.
That’s not all: a more recent 2019 study showed that even walking at 70 percent of your ability-so not at a particularly brisk pace-can help you avoid diseases related to overly sedentary lifestyles.
Not moving hurts, not the other way around. And doing it after the age of 60 is only good for you. With proper precautions, always passing the fitness test to rule out serious diseases, running only benefits you.
And if you’re that age you may decide not to run but at least walk, as much as you can.