Health Tip – Feb. 7 – Running Over 60: Big Plus, Few Minuses
If you’re a runner pushing 60, there’s mostly good news from a new study comparing 51 strong runners ranging in age from 18 to 60 plus. The up side is that the body continues to use oxygen as efficiently as it did decades earlier. The bad news is that you’re probably running slower than you once did. This is due to loss of strength, muscle power and flexibility, according to University of New Hampshire researchers.
The big difference in strength turned out to be in the upper body – particularly in the arms, which are used to help propel you when running uphill. The study found that upper body strength in the 60 plus runners was about half that of the younger ones, as was flexibility (it affects your stride) while muscle power, responsible for how fast strength is generated, was also lower.
But the investigators said that the age-related deficits can be addressed with strength training and exercises called plyometrics, which involve skipping, jumping jacks and prancing with knees high.