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Jogging May Help Seniors Walk Better

joggingMONDAY, Nov. 24, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Jogging helps seniors maintain their ability to walk, a new study finds.

The researchers looked at people older than 65 who either ran or walked for exercise. Those who ran at least 30 minutes three times a week were less likely to have age-related physical decline in walking than walkers.

In fact, joggers were 7 percent to 10 percent more efficient at walking than those who didn’t jog, according to the study published online Nov. 20 in the journal PLoS One.

“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. In fact, their metabolic cost of walking is similar to young adults in their 20s,” Justus Ortega, associate professor and director of the Biomechanics Lab at Humboldt State University in Arcata, Calif., said in a university news release.

Metabolic cost — which refers to the amount of energy required to move — naturally increases with age. High metabolic cost makes walking more difficult and tiring. A decline in walking ability is a major predictor of health problems in older adults.

“The bottom line is that running keeps you younger, at least in terms of efficiency,” study co-author Rodger Kram, a professor of integrative physiology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, said in the news release.

The researchers plan to investigate whether other highly aerobic activities — such as cycling and swimming — also slow age-related physical decline.

-Robert Preidt

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More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about seniors and exercise.

SOURCE: Humboldt State University, news release, Nov. 20, 2014 (Photo by Thomas Kohler via Flickr)

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One comment

  1. An interesting article. I am 65, a runner until last year when I had menicus arthroscopic surgery. The orthopedic doctor discovered arthritis in the same left knee after an X-ray. He then discourages running because that will make the arthritis worse and wants me to maintain basic movement and to do daily tasks as I age. I understand this, but cycling and other crosstraining is good, but I really miss both the mental and physical benefits of running. Are there options where I can again run. I have rune 8 half marathons and 8 Army Ten Milers, but know I may never run like that again, but are there options for me to run!?

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