In a Nov. 27 Wall Street Journal article about excessive running, Dallas physician Kenneth Cooper was quoted as saying, ” “If you are running more than 15 miles a week, you are doing it for some reason other than health.”
Cooper, often called the father of aerobics, issued a statement Tuesday expanding on those remarks.
He said he has no concerns about people over age 50 running too much if they have no cardiovascular disease or musculoskeletal problems. He said the theory that running more than 30 miles a week might damage the heart is rare for endurance athletes.
Cooper said he recommends that runners who develop musculoskeletal problems should continue walking, and that doing so far enough and fast enough has cardiovascular benefit. He cited a 2011 Journal of American Medical Association study that found walking speed at age 80 was one of the best predictors of longevity.
“In summary, the benefits of exercising throughout your life far outweigh any detriments that have proven to show a reduction in deaths from all causes and an increase in longevity,” he concluded.