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Running After 50: You CAN Do It!

running the beach

What's the best work out for people of all ages?

According to a recent study, it's this: running.

Researchers, who followed participants over a 30-year period, were amazed to discover that those who ran in moderation showed the greatest health gains and benefits when compared to those who ran faster and more often. The 'sweet spot', it seems, is running about 3 - 4 times a week at a slower pace, proving that the "less is more" philosophy really applies to exercise.

That's good news for me because a few years ago--just around the time I was turning 50 and trying to come to grips with the changes my body, mind and life were going through-I decided to try running, against my better judgment. Even my husband and daughters raised their eyebrows (one actually rolled her eyes, but I'm not naming names).

I knew I had to do something to get my health, weight and stress level back on track. But run? Even I questioned the good sense of this since I'd never never willingly run in my life, except during the dreaded annual Field Day at P.S. 203 in Brooklyn, or when chasing down the Good Humor truck. More importantly, the slow but steady weight gain and loss of energy were wreaking havoc with my health. Not good.

Luckily I learned how to run safely (without hurting my knees!) by following a program created by Jeff Galloway, the Olympian and marathoner who developed the Run-Walk-Run plan used by hundreds of thousands around the world. It's the best way for people of all ages--especially those of us over 50--to get out there and move our bodies.

Take a look at this quick video-- Running After 50--which is the most recent episode of "The Best of Everything" series for the AARP YouTube Channel. And please subscribe to the full series at the end of the video:

Like many people over 50, I was worried because I thought running, or even strenuous walking, can hurt our joints. Research shows, however, that it won't if done right. After 30 years of following his own program, Jeff has never had an injury. The reason is simple: it calls for slow, gentle running, with scheduled walk breaks, just like I demonstrated in the video. Distance, not speed, is the goal. It's easy on the joints, yet gives a high performance cardio work out, and helps build muscle mass in our legs and hips, which is crucial in the battle against osteoporosis.

I've been running for the last few years, and it's helped me lose--and keep off --15 lbs and improve my overall health and well being. Running may not be for everyone, but if you're thinking about it, check with your doctor first.

I want to hear from you! Leave your questions and ideas about living your best life after 50 in the comments section below, and share this article and video with your friends.

And remember this: We can't control getting older, but, we can control how we do it!


I'm the National Osteoporosis Foundation 'Ambassador for Bone Health' and a fierce champion of positive aging. For more tips on living your best life after 50 (or 60, or 70...) check out "The Best of Everything After 50: The Experts' Guide to Style, Sex, Health, Money and Moreand Keep me posted on how you're doing by subscribing to me on Facebook and "tweeting" me on Twitter at @BGrufferman.  Check out the full video series--"The Best of Everything"--on the AARP YouTube Channel. 

Photo credit: Diego David Garcia via Flickr.


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