Avid male runner seeks guidance


Q: I'm 44 years old and run 97.5 miles per week...other than the heart, what other complications might arise from continuing this habit?


A:   Hi welcome to Ask The Doctor,

Running is an excellent sport for people as they get older. As we shall see, it provides significant benefits which can offset the effects of ageing. Some people take up running so that they can keep fit. From the 30s onwards, a number of physical changes take place in the average person’s body. Aerobic capacity decreases, muscle mass reduces, muscle elasticity reduces, lung elasticity declines, bone density reduces, the metabolism slows, body fat increases and the immune system becomes weaker. The health benefits of running are broadly the same for older people as for everybody else.

They include reductions in the risks of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer; reduced depression and anxiety; weight control; improved bones, muscles and joints; improved mobility and coordination, and a psychological sense of well-being. Tips for the old runners: Take more rest days between sessions and avoid overtraining. Warm up carefully before running, and stretch afterwards, to protect muscles which are less elastic and more prone to injury than they were when you were younger. Increase your weight training, to compensate for the decline in muscle mass which you would otherwise experience. Talk to a Doctor if you get any symptoms.

Hope this helps. Wish you good health.

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