I recently recommitted to running so I was encouraged to read an article in the New York Times Well Blog, “Run to Stay Young” that suggests running can reverse aging in different and significant ways than walking alone can.
The article describes a small study out of the University of Colorodo in Boulder and Humboldt State University that uncovered that “70-year-old runners had the same walking efficiency as your typical sedentary college student,” while “older walkers…had about the same walking economy as people their same age who were sedentary.” Running into old age may prevent and even reverse some of the typical declines in mobility that happen as we age.
Many feel daunted by the task of taking up running. You shouldn’t. According to Runner’s World contributor, Jennifer Van Allen, you’re ready to take up running if you’ve spent at least two weeks walking or doing some other form of cardio exercise on a regular basis.
Remember to start slow. One of the best ways to do this is to add short bursts of running into your walking routine, like intervals. Van Allen recommends starting with 1 minute of running for every 4 minutes of walking and as you get more comfortable gradually increasing the running time and decreasing the walking time. For more tips on how to get started, view the article.
Here are some ways to motivate yourself to pick up the pace:
- Use a fitness tracker – I find my fitness tracker is a great way to motivate me for those long runs. When you can get your daily 10,000 steps just from your morning run, then you know your day is off to a good start!
- Join a social community where you can compete with others for wellness bragging rights.
Walking is still an excellent way to improve your overall health and wellness so if running isn’t an option for you, don’t give up. Just encourage yourself to pick up the pace during your walks or add short bursts of running very gradually.