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Lacing up for wellness: Part 1

Fitness | Jul 22, 2015



As an older adult, your access to the fountain of youth might be more attainable than you think. Lacing up for a run can help make you feel more energized and improve your overall wellness. According to a study done by the University of Colorado Boulder and Humboldt State University, spending time pounding the pavement as a senior is a more effective exercise than simply walking.

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According to the study, senior runners showcased a 7 to 10 percent better walking economy , or ability to walk efficiently, than those who just walked. Running as an older adult can help minimize the deterioration your joints and muscular structure which impacts your ability to walk as you age.

"The bottom line is that running keeps you younger, at least in terms of energy efficiency," said Rodger Kram, an associate professor in the integrative physiology department at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Training for a marathon, half marathon or other type of race can help drive and motivate you to continue a more active lifestyle. It is a great goal to hold, especially as you enter your golden years and have more time to dedicate to longer runs. If long-distance running is too high of a goal for you to reach, consider jogging or going on shorter runs. You don't have to compete in a marathon to see and feel the benefits of running.

"Training for a marathon, half marathon or other race can help drive and motivate you to continue a more active lifestyle."

Preparation is key
Before you commit to an exercise endeavor of this magnitude, make sure that you speak with your health care provider to ensure you can handle training. Schedule an appointment and bring in a training regimen and discuss whether you will need to make adjustments to your running calendar to accommodate your unique health needs. You can easily find training specifically designed for runners of all ages, levels and abilities. Hal Higdon, a well-known marathon connoisseur and esteemed writer, has a variety of options available online. His senior marathon training program has a shorter time commitment and lower mileage requirement. However, there are a number of other ways you can tailor your training to suit your unique needs.

When you speak with your health care provider, have a specific race and the date of the event in mind. You want to ensure your physician knows how much time you have to prepare your body and whether you have a sufficient number of months or weeks to properly train.

If your family doctor does not feel you are currently healthy enough to participate in such an intense event, ask whether you can sign up for a 5K or 10K first. He or she may be able to reevaluate whether you can compete in a marathon or half marathon after you have trained for a smaller scale event.