Healthy Jogging as We Age

Adults need to engage in 2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (i.e., brisk walking) every week (CDC, 2009).  Regrettably, many adults give up exercise as they age due to prior injury, lack of time and interest, or because they know someone who told them that someone they know, knew someone who had to stop running because they were ruining their joints.  Sounds more like an urban legend than research.

Increase fitness by jogging.

Increase fitness by jogging.

Data from the Framingham Study shows running does not deteriorate our joints but does improve cardiovascular health (Harvard Men’s Health Watch).  Researchers found no link between exercise and arthritis of the knee.  “After a remarkably long 21-year follow-up period, the runners experienced significantly less musculoskeletal disability than did their less active peers  and the runners also enjoyed a 39% lower mortality rate.”  Participation in physical activity (PA) was no greater cause of arthritis than a sedentary lifestyle.

In a 21-year Standard University Study (Archives of Internal Medicine), osteoarthritis was not found to increase for runners over non-runners.  Fewer runners died of cardiovascular causes and other causes such as neurological and infectious disorders.

Those who engaged in cardiovascular exercise in general – jogging, biking, swimming – showed better cardiovascular health, increased bone mass, less disability, and improved thinking, learning and memory.

The Stanford researchers said it best in the conclusion of their study, “vigorous exercise (running) at middle and older ages is associated with reduced disability in later life and a notable survival advantage.”  That’s advice I intend to follow.

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