Sep 18, 2015 - 10:13 AM
Truly a Man after my own heart.
I am an avid and addicted runner myself (to be fair, I'm 36 years ols, not 85..).
Once you get the bug, it's tough to lose it and I'm with your Dad re: the treadmill.
Running on a treadmill doesn't provide the same workout, not to mention the fact that it is boring as all heck!
I'd rather watch paint dry.
Your question is a good one and your concerns are valid.
I don't think the issue is whether he should exercise at his age, but rather, how much is appropriate and at what level of intensity.
We can all agree that he needs to workout for his health.
One is never "too old" to work out.
It is an issue of moderation.
I wrote an excellent, in depth and important article on this topic and I encourage you to read it!
Take a look:
Judah Gutwein, L.N.H.A.
Regency Nursing and Rehabilitation Centers
Mar 23, 2016 - 10:16 AM
The evidence that exercise can improve an older person’s strength, circulation, balance, endurance and even cognitive abilities is very clear and compelling. That said, the “how much” and intensity of that exercise really varies by the individual. An 85-year-old who can run five miles has an extraordinary threshold for exercise for someone of his age. As long as your father has no heart ailment, and the running isn’t harming his body in any way, then the five mile daily run is appropriate. At the earliest signs of pain in his knees, feet or hips – or shortness of breath earlier than in the normal course of his run – he should consider cutting back in distance or frequency of his runs.
Let’s talk about some of the risks you mentioned. There is always a risk of falls, even in people who are wheelchair bound, but exercise helps prevent falls as do things like the proper footwear and access to paths that are well paved and well lit. One real concern is that he might fall and not be seen by anyone. As for being mugged or harassed, it is a real concern as older people are frequently targeted for scams or robbery. Again, this would be mitigated by not being alone during his exercise routine.
I think this is what you should focus on, the issue of being alone should anything happen, especially a fall. If you can’t convince him to start the gym, are there indoor or outdoor tracks nearby, neighborhoods that are safe and well lit that he could drive to, or running groups that meet daily at a time that works for him? And obviously he should always run with only a phone and ID (but no wallet).
Thanks for writing in, and congrats to your dad on the inspirational healthy aging. It gives us all something to aspire to.