Run so you can walk

exercisegeneral_Dec9_ARunning keeps the over 65s younger when it comes to energy efficiency; these are the findings of a new study that examines the impact of jogging on older adults and how it affects their physical performance. And it seems that the results could be enough to get those enjoying their golden years to pick up the pace and improve how well they walk as they age.

There is nothing quite so wonderful as a lovely long walk on a crisp day. It blows away the cobwebs, de-stresses your mind and relaxes your body. However, if you want to keep up your waking efficiency as an older person, then you might want to consider taking a few steps toward a jogging tempo.

Walking efficiency the same as a 20 year old

A Humboldt State University and University of Colorado Boulder study recently found that those over the age of 65 who ran for 30 minutes or more, three times a week, used the same amount of energy when walking as a typical 20 year old. This compared with over 65s who walked instead of ran, who did not show the same level of efficiency when walking.

Lower metabolic cost

Kinesiology Professor at Humboldt State, Justus Ortega explains the findings of the study. “What we found is that older adults who regularly participate in high aerobic activities – running in particular – have what we call a lower metabolic cost of walking than older, sedentary adults.” This metabolic cost refers to how much energy your body requires to actually move. As we age, this costs rises and this makes what were once fairly easy physical exertions far more tiring and more strenuous.

Increase energy efficiency by up to 10%

What the study suggests is that with a good running routine we can stay walking for longer at an older age and that walking alone might not be enough to keep us in good walking condition. The study findings revealed that the runners were 7-10% more efficient in terms of their walking compared to the older participants who simply walked.

Why is jogging helping older people walk better?

Whilst the study reached the conclusion that jogging can have a positive impact in walking efficiency in the over 65s, it did not delve into or explore why. However, there is a theory that it is connected to mitochondria. These cell powerhouses, found in the muscles, are evidenced to be far healthier in those who exercise with some level of intensity. It would be interesting to see how other cardio activities affect energy efficiency and metabolic cost in older people too.

Energy efficiency makes you feel younger

With good energy efficiency you are keeping your body physically younger, in terms of performance at least. On top of this, if you are able to move about more as you age and you do not see a real decline, then psychologically you are going to feel younger too. Age might just be a number but if you are struggling to put one foot in front of the other or can no longer enjoy a good hike on a trail, then your quality of life can suffer, and with this can come a feeling of resignation and depression at your physical failings.

Contact us to keep your body moving so that you can keep on moving; learning to run so you can walk!

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