Over a half a million runners over the age of 65 finished races last year. Approximately 10% of Americans over the age of 65 runs. You don’t need to be a competitive runner to reap the benefits of running, just getting out and hitting the pavement (or treadmill) 60-150 minutes a week at any speed is enough to keep you healthier and your body functioning better.

There are great benefits to Senior running:

  1. Running improves the overall functionality of your joints, bones, muscles, and reduces body fat that can be hard to lose as you age.
  2. Running increases your muscle strength and bone density through repetitive weight bearing.
  3. Finding a group or club to run with garners companionship and camaraderie.
  4. Running is a lifelong sport – it provides a great cardiovascular workout at any age.

Things to think about with Senior runners:

  1. Muscles recover at a slower rate as you age, it is important to include extra rest days and avoid overtraining. Active recovery days can be used to allow your body to regroup without additional strain.
  2. Increased risk for lower body injuries. Studies have shown that if you keep your running mileage under 40 miles/week, your risk for injury decreased.
  3. In addition to running, it is important to also perform strength training as you age. Muscle mass begins to decline after age 30.
  4. Your body’s endurance slowly decreases as you age, it is important to listen to your body and react accordingly.

Advice from other runners

Robb Linnemanstons and his wife Sandy who is a member of the Extreme Endurance team have been running for 25 years plus. When it comes to competitions, Robb focuses on the marathon. He started running to get in shape and then met a group of more serious runners to train with, which would eventually push him to compete and become a better overall runner. When asked if he could give any advice to senior runners getting into running he said “Run in a group, find friends to train with. Not only will those with more experience help you train appropriately, they will help you stay disciplined with your routine and will also make it more fun!”

Studies have shown older runners had lower disability rates and were healthier overall. They had better balance, stronger bones, and fewer diseases compared to their non-running peers. So, grab a good pair of running shoes, check in with your doctor before starting a new exercise program, and then hit the ground running.

We want to shout out the Extreme Endurance Team. They are a great group of excellent athletes of all ages, dedicated to pushing their bodies to improve! For more information, visit their Facebook page here. If you are interested or have questions for them, contact us and we can help you get in touch.

Extreme Endurance team logo

Physical Therapist at Freedom Physical Therapy Services
Molly Rittberg received her master’s degree in Physical Therapy in 2007 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and went on to receive her doctorate from Rosalind Franklin University (North Chicago) in 2009. She has since worked in an outpatient orthopedic practice where she worked with patients of all ages, injuries and disabilities. She has a wide variety of experiences including knee, ankle, foot and shoulder injuries, post-operative conditions, spinal rehabilitation and peripheral neuropathies.