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Seniors who run regularly are able to maintain their “fuel economy,” according to the study.
A new study has concluded that running, to no one’s surprise, is beneficial and helps people stay healthier.
The joint effort between the University of Colorado Boulder and Humboldt State University found that senior citizens who run several times a week stayed healthier and younger, according to the findings.
The study focused on 30 healthy seniors with an average age of 69. Researchers had them walk on a treadmill at three speeds—1.6 mph, 2.8 mph and 3.9 mph—and measured the amount of oxygen they consumed and the carbon dioxide they produced. They combined this study with data gathered as part of Humboldt State professor Justus Ortega’s dissertation on the energy expended by younger and older sedentary adults during similar walking treadmill tests, for comparison’s sake.
The results showed that seniors used the same amount of energy walking as typical 20-somethings and sedentary adults, which essentially means that older runners keep their “fuel economy,” according to the study.
“It’s been known for a long time that as people age their maximum aerobic capacity, or ‘horsepower,’ declines, and that is true for runners as well,” said Ortega. “What’s new here is we found that old runners maintain their fuel economy.”
“It was surprising to find that older adults who regularly run for exercise are better walkers than older adults who regularly walk for exercise,” added Owen Beck. “The take-home message of the study is that consistently running for exercise seems to slow down the aging process and allows older individuals to move more easily, improving their independence and quality of life,” he said.
In another recent study, researchers found that people who started running later in life ran faster as they aged. The study’s results cited several examples, which included Olympic-level runners all the way down to age-groupers.