Race Against the Clock, Literally

A new study proves that running helps keep you young.

Body, Mind, Fitness

Running for Your Life

Running turns out to be the best bet for racing against the clock

-Mary Beth Sammons

woman runningOne day, about two years ago, I decided to run. I’d been walking (fast), swimming, doing yoga and working up a sweat on the elliptical machines for years. But I realized I wanted a goal. And it led me to pick one that sounded ridiculous – a five-kilometer race that was less than a month away.

I started to train. At first my performance was pathetic. But I ran/walked my endurance level up to race day. After feeling like I was going to heave crossing the finish line of my three-mile endeavor, I had a revelation. I could run. I could do something I never had done in my whole life, and do it faster and faster. I started adding longer and longer distances. By the end of that summer, I was running in my first half marathon.

In addition to the falling numbers on my scale and the fact that I could eat anything I wanted while training for longer-mile races, I started to see the benefits of running everywhere. Soon I found lots of reasons for doing so, especially for women like me – and all women, for that matter – eager to race against the aging clock. The other day, while sipping my post-running latte at Starbucks, I picked up an issue of Conscious Choice that gave me even more reason to keep on sprinting – and one that I think will make you want to run too. What I found had me jumping up and down with glee. It seems that running helps keep you young, according to research from the Archives of Internal Medicine.

According to a study that followed 961 older adults for more than two decades, scientists found runners had fewer disabilities and were half as likely to die early deaths, when compared with non-runners. Best part: the doctor/author of the study says that if you have to take up any exercise to stay healthier as you age, aerobic exercise (e.g., running) is the way to go. Said James Fries, M.D.: “It’s likely that the runners’ greater lean body mass and healthier overall habits played a key role in their longevity.”

At a time when it seems everything is a mess and there’s a lot of hard-core stress going around – the economy! Politics! – it’s good to know that there is one way to keep it together and to look ahead with hope. So, to keep your mind off the things that make you anxious, it may just pay to run, run away, faster and farther than you’ve ever gone before.

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