Over 60? Running isn't bad for you – it actually fights ageing

New research suggests that running could make you just as fit as younger people when it comes to walking efficiency

Older man runs up steps outdoors in activewear
(Image credit: Getty)

Despite the fact that your body will begin to slow down as you age, and your movements might not feel as bouncy as they once did, your fitness ability doesn't have an expiry date on it. In fact, keeping up with regular exercise can keep you just as able as younger people when it comes to physical activity.

If you are over 60 and enjoy getting outside for a walk (and if this is a regular hobby of yours, a pair of our best shoes for walking can help to support you), then you might find that taking up running could make you enjoy and immensely benefit from walking as well. 

A study published in the PLoS journal recruited a group of healthy walkers and runners aged 65 or older and tested out what impact each activity had on the other - particularly analysing the participants performance in each. 

The scientists monitored the participants efficiency by making them wear headgear that measured their oxygen consumption while walking on a treadmill at varying speeds. 

After looking at the efficiency of both the runners and walkers, the study revealed that the older runners were the most efficient walkers. The results revealed that the older runners used around the same amount of oxygen to walk at the range of speeds as the younger participants did.

Meanwhile, the older participants who were just walkers required approximately seven to ten percent more oxygen to walk at the same paces as the younger people and older runners.

Group of adults on a hike

(Image credit: Getty)

Justus Ortega, a Kinesiology Professor at Humboldt State and director of HSU's Biomechanics Lab said:

"What we found is that older adults who regularly participate in high aerobic activities -- running in particular -- have what we call a lower metabolic cost of walking than older, sedentary adults."

He added, "In fact, their metabolic cost of walking is similar to young adults in their 20s".

This hopefully doesn't discourage you from walking because it is still an extremely beneficial activity for the elderly - and anyone for that matter. Take this 2019 study as an example, it discovered that people who walk up to 70% or more of their maximum capacity can reduce their risk of developing lifestyle-related diseases that are common among the middle-aged and elderly.

Adding some light running into your usual fitness regime can only improve activities, like walking, that form a part of your everyday. A pair of best running shoes for men or best running shoes for women can fare you well as you find your feet in the running sphere.

Jessica Downey

Jessica is an experienced fitness writer with a passion for running. Her career in journalism began in local news and she holds a Masters in journalism. Jessica has previously written for Runners World, penning news and features on fitness, sportswear and nutrition. 

When she isn't writing up news and features for Fit&Well covering topics ranging from muscle building, to yoga, to female health and so on, she will be outdoors somewhere, testing out the latest fitness equipment and accessories to help others find top products for their own fitness journeys. Her testing pairs up nicely with her love for running. She recently branched out to running 10Ks and is trying to improve her time before moving on to larger races. Jessica also enjoys building on her strength in the gym and is a believer in health and wellness beginning in the kitchen. She shares all of this on her running Instagram account @jessrunshere which she uses for accountability and for connecting with like-minded fitness lovers.