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Older adults run as efficiently as younger groups

Adults today are more likely to stay active as they age, and many will choose to do so by running. In fact, people over 60 are one of the fastest growing segments of the running population and while they may not be running as fast as their younger counterparts, their so-called running efficiency stays fairly high.

The study, which was conducted by researchers from the University of New Hampshire and published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, discovered that the way older runners' bodies used oxygen was not much different than younger harriers. The only reason why older runners may be slower is because the the over-60 body has to work a bit harder to achieve the same level of efficiency.

Scientists performed the study by looking at competitive runners who placed highly in their respective age divisions at recent races. While the findings may suggest that it is harder for older runners to keep up their speed as they age, that does not mean that they should stop running, or stop trying for their best times.

"Strength declines with age, but you can minimize that if you do strength training. It doesn't take a lot to maintain strength," says lead author Timothy Quinn. "We need to set up programs that enhance strength, especially upper-body strength, and power. They'll be better runners for it."

Regardless of speed, running has shown to have numerous benefits in terms of boosting life expectancy. A 2008 study found that people who ran at middle and older ages experienced not only reduced instance of disability later in life but also had a significantly reduced mortality rate.

Whether you run competitively or just for fun, Sun City Hilton Head offers plenty of opportunity to get your miles in. In addition to a state-of-the-art fitness center to help increase your strength and flexibility, there are also plenty of running trails nearby to get your taste of the outdoors.

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