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Running can Keep you Young, New Study Reports

Update Date: Nov 20, 2014 05:22 PM EST

People know that exercise is extremely beneficial for the body and mind. In a new study, researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder and Humboldt State University specifically examined the effects of running and found that this cardiovascular activity can keep people young.

"The bottom line is that running keeps you younger, at least in terms of energy efficiency," said CU-Boulder Associate Professor, Rodger Kram, from the Department of Integrative Physiology, reported in the press release.

For this study, the researchers recruited 30 older participants with an average age of 69. The participants all ran or walked at least three times per week for at least six months as exercise. Each session lasted a minimum of 30 minutes. Preliminary health screenings were conducted at the CU-Boulder Clinical and Translational Research Center (CTRC). Energy expenditure was measured via treadmill tests set at three different speeds.

The team found that seniors who ran had a "lower metabolic cost of walking" in comparison to seniors who were sedentary. Seniors who were runners also used up about the same amount of energy walking as a 20-year-old would. Seniors who walked as exercise expended about the same amount of energy walking as fellow sedentary seniors would. Seniors who walked as exercise used up to 22 percent more energy walking when compared to a 20-year-old adult.

"It was surprising to find that older adults who regularly run for exercise are better walkers than older adults who regularly walk for exercise," said CU-Boulder graduate student Owen Beck. "The take-home message of the study is that consistently running for exercise seems to slow down the aging process and allows older individuals to move more easily, improving their independence and quality of life."

The study was published in PLOS ONE.

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