Several researchers over the years thought running caused more harm than good in seniors. Some feared the long-term effect of the then ‘new jogging craze’ would be floods of orthopaedic injuries, with older runners permanently limped by their exercise habit. However, this new study conducted by Researchers at the University of Colorado says regular exercise would extend high-quality, disability-free life.

Although walking has several benefits, including improving memory, preventing illness etc. running has even better benefits, according to the study.


30 men and women aged 60 to 70 answered the call to participate in the study. The group was split into two; half of the group was tasked with walking for 30 minutes three times a week, while the other half was told to run for the same amount of time. The research team then measured their oxygen intake and biomechanics while both groups walked on a treadmill at the study’s conclusion.


Researchers found that the running group walked far more efficiently than the walking group; while the walking group expelled as much energy as someone who was inactive seven days out of the week. The researchers speculate that the difference lies within the muscle cells and the amount of mitochondria produced.

Researchers added that mitochondria provide energy, which allows people to move longer with less effort. Runners possessed better muscle coordination than their walking counterparts, which means the runners were able to go longer without consuming as much energy.

It’s not too late if you haven’t started running yet. Justus Ortega, an associate professor of kinesiology at Humboldt University, who led the study stated: “Quite a few of our volunteers hadn’t taken up running until they were in their 60s.”


The Journal of the American College of Cardiology says the ideal guidelines for physical activity call for a minimum of 75 minutes per week of running or other vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, or 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week; however people who exercised less than that still received significant health benefits. So stick to your routine as long as there is some form of exercise you do.

Regular running builds strong bones, improves cardiovascular fitness and helps to maintain a healthy weight.

Here are general tips by better health for beginners:

*See your doctor for a check-up before you start a running program. This is especially important if you are over 40 years, are overweight, have a chronic illness or haven’t exercised in a long time.

*Pre-exercise screening is used to identify people with medical conditions that may put them at a higher risk of a experiencing a health problem during physical activity. It is a filter or ‘safety net’ to help decide if the potential benefits of exercise outweigh the risks for you. Print a copy of the pre-exercise screening tool and discuss it with your doctor or exercise professional.

*Start with brisk walking. Aim for 30 minutes per session. Allow a minimum of six weeks to build up to regular running. Aim to increase your jogging time each session, and alternate between walking and jogging.

*Make sure you warm up and stretch thoroughly before you head out. Cool your body down with light stretches when you return.

stretching runner








*Make sure you have plenty of fluids and take a water bottle with you on your run. Try to drink plenty of water before, during and after any activity.

*Allow at least two complete rest days per week to avoid overtraining, which may cause injury. Consider other low impact activities, such as swimming, at least once each week.

*Plan your route. If possible, choose flat, grassy areas rather than hard or loose (such as sandy) surfaces to reduce the risk of injury.

*Avoid running near roads. This is especially important if you have a pre-existing condition such as asthma. Vehicle exhaust fumes can increase your risk of various cardiovascular and respiratory complaints or illnesses.

*Avoid the ‘peak hour’ periods to reduce your risk of inhaling air pollution from motor vehicles. If possible, schedule your runs for either the early morning or the evening.

*Wear loose cotton clothing. Dress your upper body in layers of clothing so that you can take off layers as required.

*Apply SPF 30+ sunscreen to exposed skin areas.

*Buy an appropriate pair of running  shoes