Is running recommended for older women?
There have been several studies recently conducted to determine whether light running can be good for women’s health as they age. For instance, one such study conducted by Humboldt State University focused on adults over the age of 65. The participants were divided into two groups: the running group ran three times a week for at least 30 minutes, and the walking group also walked three times a week for at least 30 minutes. The group of walkers was found to suffer more from age-related physical decline than the runners.
Of all the forms of exercise, jogging is perhaps the most readily available for an older woman. The only gear you need is a good pair of running sneakers and a sports bra.
The Benefits of Running for an Older Woman
There are many benefits when it comes to running, especially for aging women.
A recent study conducted by the Medical College of Wisconsin along with the VA Medical Center found that women who used a treadmill to run burned as many as 705 to 865 calories an hour. Those who used a stair stepper, stationary bike, or a cross-country ski machine to exercise burned far fewer calories.
Besides burning calories, running also gave the women participating in this study a workout for their hearts. As they ran on the treadmill, they sent blood to their hearts that pumped the blood quickly back. The faster they ran, the harder their hearts worked and the stronger their hearts became.
Avoiding Osteoarthritis in Your Knees
Osteoarthritis is the result of cartilage breaking down. A woman who is obese is four times more likely to develop osteoarthritis than women who are not overweight, according to a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Women who run regularly are usually normal in weight, making it less likely for them to develop osteoarthritis.
Improving General Health
According to experts, if a woman runs regularly, she tends to avoid diseases such as breast, colon, and lung cancers. The British Journal of Cancer reported that a study found that women who walked briskly for at least five to six hours a week were less likely to develop colon cancer than those who were not walking. Therefore, one can only assume that walking briskly allowed women to be less likely to develop cancer.
Women who jog are also more inclined to avoid other diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Jogging can help a woman lower her blood pressure, have greater immunity to colds and viruses, and raise her good cholesterol.
Studies conducted by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory on macular degeneration and cataracts showed that incidences of these ailments were reduced by jogging.
A study conducted by Stanford University School of Medicine of 538 runners and 423 non-runners had astonishing results. The study began in 1984 and was finished in 2005, consisting of participants 50 years old or older. Once a year, each participant completed a disability questionnaire designed to measure their ability to do simple tasks such as shampooing hair, cutting meat and opening a carton of milk.
The questionnaire responses indicated that the levels of disability were significantly lower in runners than in non-runners. As participants aged, the differences in the levels of disability between the two groups became more noticeable.
The most shocking results of this study were the fact that only 66 percent of the non-runners were alive at the end of the study and as many as 85 percent of the runners were alive. Thus, this study certainly showed that most people will live longer if they run regularly.