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Wellness Talk: Iconic Athlete Kathrine Switzer Shares How to Stay Fit Over 50

Wellness Talk: Iconic Athlete Kathrine Switzer Shares How to Stay Fit Over 50

By Judy Freedman

Created: 10/14/2019
Last Updated: 10/15/2019

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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, president of 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, 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.

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