Do you remember Kathrine Switzer? In 1967, she was the first woman to complete the all-male Boston marathon as an official entrant. She registered as “K.V.” to be gender-neutral. Today, this septuagenarian is still running strong. According to her bio, Kathrine has run more than 42 marathons, and hundreds of road races of all distances all over the world since her historic marathon. She is also an activist, author, and president, Marathon Woman, AtAlanta Sports Promotions, Inc. and Board Chair of 261 Fearless, a social runner network for women.
I had a chance to interview Kathrine while she was in Philadelphia for the Humana Rock ‘n’ Roll event in August. While I am no longer a runner, I was interested to learn if she had any wellness tips for how to stay fit over 50, 60, and like Kathrine, 70 and beyond. Here’s what she said:
How do you stay fit over 50?
I do my best to run every day – even on the days I may not feel like it! As the race ambassador, I sign up for the Humana Rock ‘n’ Roll series across the country so I’m always working toward a goal. A great rule of thumb I’ve also adopted is to keep my running shoes by the front door, to remind me to just get out there!
If I can’t run because I’m traveling, or life just gets in the way, I make sure to do something else that’s simple but still keeps me sharp – I’ll take a quick walk, or do core exercises in my hotel room.
What are the benefits of running later in life?
I’ve witnessed firsthand the power of “active aging” and its effect on my own health. At 72, I can truly say that running is helping me feel my best, both physically and mentally.
What about if someone cannot run, like me? Is walking a good exercise for post-50 women?
Absolutely! Running is not the only one way to get exercise. The most important thing is to keep moving, and if possible, to get fresh air and sunshine.
It’s also important to remember that our health and well-being means more than just being physically active. We need to be with other people – to fight loneliness and social isolation. Playing cards with a group, or joining a book club, can help to better nurture our emotional health.
How can women embrace a healthy lifestyle regardless of their age or ability?
As we progress through life, we have unique and ever-changing needs, but one thing is constant: the need to focus on a healthy body and mind. That’s why I’m so passionate about prioritizing healthy habits – and that means physically, socially, and emotionally. When I exercise, it allows my mind to be creative and I bust a lot of stress.
My best advice for women, especially older women, is to find something you like to do. It can be as simple as taking a daily walk around your neighborhood, dancing in your living room, or gardening. Why not ask a neighbor to go for a walk? You make a lot of friends just out walking around your neighborhood.
How has running helped you in other areas of your life?
Running helps me feel powerful and boosts my creativity. I get my best ideas when on the run. It’s one of the best parts of running, and it can be illuminating and mind-cleansing.
I love running for many reasons, and it’s incredible to think that it’s so simple – it only requires a pair of shoes.
Any other tips to share?
Humana (a healthcare company) and I are big supporters of what we call “whole-person” health. Whole-person health goes beyond the physical – it’s a state of general well-being, and places importance as well on both a healthy body and a healthy mind.
The Humana Rock ‘n’ Roll events are great examples of what I believe in – making healthy things fun, and fun things healthy. They offer different courses – for instance, in Philadelphia there was a 5k, a 7.6k (to salute the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 in Philadelphia), and a half-marathon – to show that there are options out there to stay active no matter your age or fitness level. In Las Vegas in November, the events will be run on The Strip at night!
Thanks Kathrine for your wellness tips. For those of you who are runners, I suggest you check out the upcoming schedule of Humana Rock ‘n’ Roll events throughout the USA and world for the remainder of 2019 and 2020. There are even races in Lima and Cancun.
Ooh, ooh, ooh, maybe I should start running again!
Enter Giveaway For Running and Walking Over 40
To celebrate my wellness journey during my life after 60 and honor Kathrine, I’m hosting a giveaway for a copy of Kathrine’s book Running and Walking over 40. Leave a comment about your favorite type of exercise or enter the Rafflecopter below.
I ran daily for three decades, but sadly my right knee ended that. I still do two half’s a year. Kind of a shuffle. :). But thank God I found Power Yoga which I practice most every day. I have two active dogs (and no fenced-in yard) so my step count still gets up there. Katherine looks amazing. I have no doubt the flexibility I’ve gain through yoga will help me as the years mount. But more than that, I love something that physically challenges me everyday.
Jamie, it sounds like you have a positive outlook on exercise, despite having a bum knee that limits your running. So glad you enjoy yoga and have found it beneficial. I’m a BIG proponent of yoga as we age.
I like to walk with my dog
Cynthia, I’ve heard that people who own dogs get more exercise.