Running and old age

Running and old age

We all enjoy running, racing, competing and the social outlet that the sport provides but at the back of our minds there's a nagging doubt.  Is this going to leave me in a state when I'm old? 

How many couch potatoes have told you that you will be in a wheelchair by the time you're 50 if you keep going the way you are?  That your knees will be wrecked?  Perhaps feeding that doubt is the fact that we often get aches and pains from running that might make us feel as though it's doing us damage. Read on for details on a recent study on the topic.


A very comprehensive study on the effects of aging and running is done here by the Stanford School of Medicine and it makes good reading for the runners among us.  It's comparing two groups of people – 538 runners and 538 non-runners over a 20 year period covering the ages from 50-something to 80-something. 

Some highlights:

  • Disability (the age at which you find it difficult or impossible to do normal daily activities) was delayed by an average of 16 years for the runners.

  • The gap between runners and non-runners abilities became bigger with time

  • 19 years into the study 34% of the non-runners had died, 15% of the runners

  • There were no differences in terms of osteo arthritis or number of knee replacments





Like all medical studies, take it with a pinch of salt, but as far as respectibility goes it doesn't get much more official than the Stanford School so it's nice to see!  The man in the picture is Buster Martin who did this year London Marathon at the age of 101.  So though sometimes you might not feel like it, lace up those shoes and head out for some free medical care!

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