How to out run the ageing process

Running can be damn useful. You could out run an angry bear, make that train without soaking your shirt with nasty sweat patches or even keep up with your overly energetic kids.

The one thing we’d all like to be able to do is outrun the ageing process.

With age comes wisdom apparently but there’s nothing wise about forgetting where you put your keys or accidentally putting your phone in the fridge as your brain starts to give up on you.  Don’t even mention the descent into ever increasing levels of grumpiness and disillusionment with modern life.

Then of course there are the physical signs that you’re edging ever closer to pension age – the aches & pains, becoming more tired by the day and the inability to get out of a chair without groaning like an angry hippo.

Thankfully the traditional stereotype that portrays older runners as haggard, scrawny skeletons with dodgy joints and excessive wrinkles just isn’t accurate.  At least not if you’re sensible with your mileage, eat well and keep the strength training going.

In fact regular running can do more for the longevity of your youth than any wrinkle cream or miracle pill.


It might not seem like a mentally taxing pass time but running has many benefits for the old grey matter. A healthy body is a healthy mind and the effects can be noticeable in just a short space of time too.

Ever find yourself slumped in front of a screen unable to concentrate on anything? Research has shown that regular exercise will improve concentration, memory and mental agility.

Lack of time is the biggest excuse to miss a run.  But a good run will help to energise you and you’ll be much more productive for it.

Although the process of running itself is not mentally strenuous in our conscious thoughts (leaving us free to contemplate the meaning of life) we are always subconsciously aware of the terrain and any surrounding hazards we need to avoid.

These help to train our brain to deal with a bigger workload which can improve our ability to plan and multi task.

The most important benefit to getting out and breaking a sweat though has got to be the mental wellbeing effects.

Modern life is becoming ever more stressful. We are permanently connected to technology which bombards us with distraction. Time is an ever disappearing commodity and we feel under pressure from all the external commitments in life.

Taking some time out to unwind and clear your head will do wonders for your outlook on life.  When we exercise out body releases endorphins which are basically feel good hormones that give us a natural euphoria.


Having to constantly blow your nose mid run is somewhat inconvenient and requires true skill to master.  But imagine an existence where that was as bad as your ailments got.

Regular cardio vascular exercise actually helps to boost and strengthen the immune system making it less likely you’ll be the unlucky recipient of your colleague’s yucky germs.

Excessive exercise when your sleep, nutrition and stress are not under control can deplete your immunity reserves however so be sure to be sensible and allow yourself sufficient recovery.

Pushing yourself to run more and more might feel like the right thing to do but you can’t run when you have the flu so look after yourself.



Improving heart & lung function might sound like obvious benefits to exercising but the scale of the effects might surprise you.

Not only can you slow down the ageing process but you can actually reverse them too.  All of this without the need to splash out on some £30 product that does nothing other than empty your wallet.

As you work your heart it promotes elasticity of your arteries allowing blood flow to occur more easily and reduces the amount of work your heart has to do.  Your resting heart rate will come down and you’ll feel more alert as your brain enjoys an increased flow of oxygenated blood.

It’s like being permanently caffeinated without spending a huge chuck of your hard earned money on overpriced yet delicious coffee.

Improved heart and lung function all sounds a bit science-y and clinical.  That’s all well and good for preventing an early death but how will they actually help you? Increased energy, a spring in your step and that lethargy will be banished. Not forever mind you.  A tough week at work or unexpected night out will still leave you on the ropes but you’ve got to have fun sometimes even if it does wipe you out the next day.



Running isn’t the first thing you think of when it comes to building muscle. In fact runners are usually portrayed as weak & skinny but that doesn’t have to be the case.

While it’s true you’re not going to gain any significant muscle size from just running alone you will certainly develop your slow twitch muscles fibres (the ones you need for endurance) and that’s going to really boost your performance.

The gym is where you’ll build the serious muscle if that’s what you want.  Even if it’s not, you will get massive benefit from doing runner specific strength & core exercises regularly.

Similarly bones become denser when subjected to exercise.

Both muscles and bones adapt to any stresses they face and running faster or further in training is one such stress.

As we age we start to lose both muscle mass and bone density.  The downside to both of these are less stability and increased risk of injury.

Ensuring you regularly incorporate speed work and a variety of running paces as well as strength work will help you stay young forever. Almost.

Just remember that looking like Chris Hemsworth if you’re a guy or Pink if you’re a woman are going to make you feel great about yourself but extra muscle is weight to run around.

Try not to let performance overrule happiness though otherwise you’ll never truly enjoy your running no matter what times you get.



Look good feel good – sound good? Good!

While you may not be vying for a spot on the cover of Men’s Health or some other ridiculous publication it doesn’t mean you don’t care about how you look.

As we age our metabolism slows down, we become more comfortable in our own skin and our diet relaxes a little.

But those things and looking good naked don’t necessarily go hand in hand.

Maintaining a regular running and gym schedule are both brilliant ways to keep a high calorie burn and muscle definition.



As with anything medicinal it’s not necessarily a case of more = better.

There will always be a minimum effective dose but ultimately what matters most is what you can \ want to fit into your schedule.

Based on the research done so far you get most of the benefits from about 2.5 hours per week but more than that isn’t going to harm you either.

Of course the type of running and the intensity will dictate which benefits you get most.

Slow long runs for example will have less of an effect on your VO2 max and sprints will have less carry over to your immune system boosting.  That’s why a good mixture of running modes and gym work is always the way to go.

Although doing more than the 2.5 hours a week will have no negative impacts on your health you should just remember that your joints do require sufficient recovery and rest.

Over training can be a real problem so make sure to include stretching and mobility work as part of your routine.


Want to feel younger and discover even more ways to get faster?

Then you need to get yourself on to my e-mail list for serious runners.

Here’s the link you ‘ll need


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