Fuelling the Ageing Runner – Stay Healthy

September 3, 2020

Fuelling the Ageing Runner

Ageing is a natural part of life’s cycle but as runners we want to age in the most healthy way possible. In today’s episode we will be discussing the physiological effects of ageing including changes to the cardiovascular system as well as the digestive and endocrine system. We introduce stories of some inspiring older individuals who are still enjoying an active life in their 70s and 80s before moving on to discuss key nutrients and foods to consider to ensure YOU stay on top form.

LISTEN HERE Episode 22: Fuelling the Ageing Runner


Fuelling the Ageing Runner


An outline of this episode: the physiological changes of ageing in runners, how these changes impact on the nutritional requirements of the ageing runner, what a runner can do nutritionally to support healthy ageing.


Considering the physiological changes of ageing and how they would be pertinent to a runner? Discussing aspects including reduced muscle mass, digestive health and cardiovascular decline.


Thinking about biological age versus metabolic age before moving on to discuss potential reasons for weight/fat gain as we age.


Delving deeper into cardiovascular decline with age and how it impacts on overall health and running performance.


Discussing the Female Factors:

  • Fat gain linked to peri/menopause
  • Low oestrogen and bone health


Giving a shout out to inspiring older active individuals. Looking at people who are still running or still active in their 70s and 80s.


Focusing on the physiological changes of ageing and how they affect a runner’s nutritional needs. Thinking about their energy and protein needs as well as the potential for nutrient deficiencies including zinc, iron, calcium and vitamin B12.


Considering some nutritional recommendations to help prevent nutrient deficiency in the older runner whilst also discussing the impact of changes to the digestive system and medications as risk factors for nutrient deficiency. Moving on to food recommendations for specific nutrients including: vitamin B12, vitamin D, calcium and iron.


Giving a quick shout out for zinc, a mineral that is often depleted in the elderly, but it is really important for the immune system and tissue repair.


Fat gain, as we age, occurs in both men and women. It is more pronounced in women due to the decrease in oestrogen production at menopause.

Post menopause, the key production sites for oestrogen are the adrenal glands and fat cells so women tend to put on some weight as a result.

How much weight is gained will be determined by the individual’s diet, physical activity and overall lifestyle.

Secondly low oestrogen also affects BMD, hence why women are at higher risk of developing osteoporosis than men.


Fuelling the Ageing Runner

Key Takeaways:

    1. There are many age-related physiological changes that occur, which could affect a runner and their performance including reduced muscle mass, reduced BMD, increased fat mass.
    2. Although these physiological changes are inevitable, remaining physically active and eating a healthy diet consistently could slow the decline and limit the effects.
    3. The overall energy intake required for an individual reduces as they age so it is important to adjust the diet accordingly.
    4. Daily energy intake will still be dependent on the amount of exercise performed on a regular basis so it is important to work out what YOUR needs are for your age and activity. Remember Aileen and I offer 1-2-1 consultations if you would like some expert advice on this.
    5. Don’t ignore any symptoms you are experiencing, Work with a professional and have some tests completed to determine if you may be insufficient or deficient in any key nutrients.
    6. Keep on running as it will not only help limit the physiological effects of ageing, but it will also support your mental and emotional wellbeing as you age.

Related Episodes:

Endurance Running and the Immune System

Bone Health for Runners Part 1

Bone Health for Runners Part 2


The suggestions we make during this episode are for guidance and advice only, and are not a substitute for medical advice or treatment. If you have any concerns regarding your health, please contact your healthcare professional for advice as soon as possible.

Remember we are available to support you if required contact us at hello@ runnershealthhub.com

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