Welcome friend! In this article you will learn about the benefits of jogging for senior citizens and if it’s a suitable form of exercise for you.
Jogging is probably the most well-known exercise for general fitness. Everyone has tried it and seen people stay fit simply by jogging a few times per week.
But as you’ve probably found out, jogging can feel pretty strenuous or even exhausting when you are out of shape. So is it safe for seniors?
Or maybe you’ve been a runner your whole life and are wondering if jogging is actually necessary for fitness if you are already fit. And is it good for your knees and hips?
More importantly, are there better options for jogging as you age? You will learn the answer to all these questions and more in this article so read on!
What Counts As Jogging?
Let’s start by looking at what exactly counts as jogging. As you surely know jogging is basically a slow form of running but it is typically used as a term to describe recreational running with the purpose of improving and maintaining physical fitness.
In this sense when some go for “a jog” it can involve walking, slow running, or faster running or any combination of these three.
But more specifically jogging means slow pace running. When you are essentially running at a fast walking speed, you are jogging.
Of course, there is some relativity here. Someone who’s in great shape and an advanced runner can call relaxed running jogging while someone who is very overweight and out of shape can call walking while swinging your arms like your running jogging.
What makes jogging different from walking is that you are basically hopping instead of pacing. This will activate your muscle more as well as increase the impact on each step – which can be both a good and a bad thing. We’ll talk more about that in a minute.
Jogging Is Great – If You Can Do It
So is jogging a good form of exercise? Yes, it absolutely is. It’s mainly useful for improving and maintaining cardiovascular fitness and muscle endurance but it will also help to maintain leg strength (but only to an extent).
Jogging has an increased impact on your bones compared to walking, which can be very beneficial for improving your bone health. This is naturally useful in osteoporosis prevention.
Jogging is also very beneficial for maintaining your balance skills since it’s a dynamic movement pattern that requires you to move your body in space on varying surfaces.
But the question is if it’s good for seniors? The short answer is yes – if you can do it safely. Meaning that you are not overweight, are in good health, don’t have any joint or back pain issues, and are in reasonable cardiovascular health.
Jogging can be a great way to improve your fitness and burn some calories to help in fat loss and keeping a healthy weight. More important it’s beneficial for your heart health and helps keep your bones strong and balance skills good.
But you might have noticed the list of requirements for jogging to be suitable for you might seem a bit long. Let’s talk a bit more about why and if there might be more suitable options for you.
Health Concerns With Jogging
The most obvious health concern with jogging is cardiovascular strain. If you have been sedentary or suffer from any kind of cardiovascular disorder you need to talk about jogging with your doctor. In fact, it’s wise to always run it by your doctor as a senior as a medical professional is the only one who can assess your potential health risks.
It’s very easy to get carried away with jogging, run out of breath and max out your heart rate. If you are not used to this, it can be very taxing and dangerous, especially in older age. So be careful, talk to your doctor and start light.
The other consideration is that jogging puts quite a bit of strain on your joint and spine, especially if you are at all overweight. This can cause joint pain and inflammation even if you don’t have any existing joint conditions.
That’s why it’s recommended to jog only if you don’t suffer from arthritis and are normal weight (<25 BMI). If you are fit and athletic and weigh a bit more it might be ok, but you are putting a lot of strain on your joints.
There are other options for jogging so personally, I wouldn’t recommend risking your joints by jogging as a senior since there are other options which we’ll look at next.
Oh btw, if you absolutely want to jog, I recommend you get a pair of high-quality running shoes as they will make jogging a lot easier on your knees and hips. Here you can find the best running shoes for seniors.
So What’s The Option?
So if you are a bit overweight or don’t want to risk your joints, what can you do to keep fit? Well, the good news is that there are a ton of options.
First of all, there are two main components of fitness for health and longevity you need to be concerned about. Cardiovascular fitness and muscular fitness.
Cardiovascular fitness is important for longevity, endurance, and overall vigor. It basically gives you the ability to be active all day long without feeling fatigued. More importantly, it will keep your heart healthy and we all know what happens when your heart gives out.
But muscular fitness is as if not even more important for seniors. Strong muscles and good mobility will form a base for all activities, including cardio. You can’t even walk if you lose too much muscle mass, this is what often happens to bedridden seniors.
Cardiovascular fitness is typically trained with endurance exercise and muscular fitness with some type of resistance training. They are not completely mutually exclusive as cardio will always activate your muscles and strength training will increase your heart rate, but neither will be very efficient for the other purpose.
So do you need exercise like running and jogging? Quite simply no, there is no reason for them. They are good forms of cardio that most people know how to do but that’s it. You can pick any activity that increases your heart rate to substitute them for health purposes. Some great examples are nordic walking (or brisk regular walking), tennis, golf, kayaking, and cycling.
For muscular fitness, any kind of resistance training will do. You can do calisthenics, powerlifting, Theraband workouts, dumbbell workouts, kettlebells, etc. Check out my free strength training routine if you want a simple whole-body routine for health.
For example simply walking daily and doing a bodyweight strength training routine 2 to 4 times a week will keep your fitness level good for health and longevity.
I hope you found the post useful and it answered all your questions about jogging for seniors. If you have any questions, you can leave them in the comments section below and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
Jogging is a great form of exercise for general fitness. It’s basically free and helps to improve your cardiovascular fitness while maintaining leg strength. But it comes with some risks for seniors that aren’t already accustomed to running.
Because there is a high impact on your joints you can risk joint inflammation and pain. Jogging can also b
Fortunately, any form of cardio combined with simple strength training will offer the same benefits without the same risks. That said if you love jogging and are in good health and normal weight you can listen to your body it’s possible to enjoy jogging safely. Just don’t overdo it and get a green light from your doctor first!
Thanks for reading and see you next time!
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