Research has indicated that running may lead to better outcomes in older adults. A study by Orteg JD et al in PLoS One (2014;9:e113471) compared walking and running in older adults. Basic tasks begin to deteriorate in older adults, including the basic ability to walk. The economy (metabolic expenses) of walking get worse as one ages due to muscular inefficiency and the firing of antagonistic muscle groups in older muscle. This increases the risk of falling, and also increases the difficulty of basic transferring of weight from one point to another as well as maintaining balance.
In other studies, it has been found that older runners have a similar running economy as younger runners do. This new study in PLoS One demonstrates that older runners have more efficient energy use when they walk as compared to non-runners at the same age. In fact, the gross metabolic cost of transport was about 10 % less in runners at any walking speed.
Older walkers walkers are not able to stop the deterioration in the metabolic cost of walking because they have the same metabolic cost of transport as older sedentary adults. All exercise is not the same for all people!
Key Point: There are benefits to a regular running practice in older adults in regards to longevity and overall health. In fact, older adults who run at least 30 minutes three times a week have less metabolic cost for walking than individuals of the same age group who exercise by walking only! Thus running improves your metabolic efficiency and prevents age-related declines in walking efficiency!
Intense training in older adults increases muscular efficiency and stops antagonistic muscle firing.
As we get older, we lose muscle mass. This mass decreases rapidly during times of illness and hospitalizations, which is why grandma may enter the hospital for an infection and never leave her bed again! Her muscles were minimally compensated as were, and after an illness, there is not enough muscle power left for everyday activities, like getting out of bed!!
Muscle-strengthening exercises preserve muscle mass but must be combined with adequate dietary protein intake.
Sarcopenia (the loss of muscle mass) results in poor muscle strength, increasing the risk of falls and lack of independence.
There is an association between protein intake and muscle mass that varies with physical activity. Women need 46 grams of protein a day, men need 56 grams of protein a day. The exact amount is variable depending on a number of factors, but 0.8 grams of protein is needed per 2.2 pounds (one kg). If you are obese, more protein may be helpful.
You need High quality protein! Meat, poultry, and fish are complete sources, and the only vegetable source that is complete is soy.
Complete protein sources have all the essential amino acids. Grains are not complete because they are low in lysine, while legumes are low in methionine. Grains and legumes are still excellent sources of protein.
You need to combine high intakes of beef and pork with vigorous aerobic activity to obtain the highest muscle mass. Exercises that are excellent include swimming, cycling, running, and aerobics classes at least 30 minutes a day. You need to break a sweat!
If you don’t use it, you lose it!!
Lose unnecessary weight – Losing even ten percent of your body weight gives health benefits that last a decade and decrease diabetes risk by 50%! It also decreases hypertension and sleep apnea. Weight loss decreases the stress on your knees and hips, allowing you to maintain mobility and independence.
Try to get 30 minutes of physical activity a day – consider getting a pedometer or fit-bit to monitor your activity and encourage movement. Low activity is less than 3500 steps a day ( a mile is 2000 steps) Those who walk more, had lower diabetes risk. Also, the more you move, the less pain you have!
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