Running at any age is amazing? Need a little evidence? Just check out the six strong women on our March 2015 cover. We rounded up runners of all ages—from 16 to 61—who have just a few things in common: They rely on running to keep them feeling fit, conﬁ dent and happy, and they plan on logging sweaty miles for the rest of their lives.
We took a look at what makes running special in every decade. First we’ll cover running in your twenties. Check back soon for why running is amazing from your teens through your 60’s!
Choose your path.
Stephanie Bruce, professional runner and Women’s Running blogger, says in your 20s, “Energy is high and life is full of new adventures.” True— without school restraints and set team practices, runners can make their running schedule their own. Plus, it’s easy to set new goals—like training for a half marathon with your friends instead of sweating over that indoor 1,500-meter race. Running legend and author Katherine Switzer adds: “You have a sense of fearlessness and are willing to push your own envelope a lot more.”
Related: Half Marathon PR Training Plan
Ace that class.
For undergrad and graduate students, exercise improves performance in the classroom, according to Dr. Stephen Pribut, sports medicine practitioner. “It helps with focus and concentration,” he explains. Running also improves sleep patterns in a life-stage when erratic hours are the norm—which in turn aids in productivity.
Get your fuel on.
According to Tara Dellolacono, registered dietitian and nutrition strategist for Clif Bar & Company, women in their 20s are at the highest risk for the Female Athlete Triad, “a result of low-energy intake that leads to the disruption of a normal menstrual cycle and declined bone health.” To avoid this, it’s crucial for runners to eat enough calories to maintain a healthy weight—not lose pounds in a dangerous way to maintain a competitive edge.
Related: The Female Athlete Triad
Activate your social network.
Many former students experience a social slump after graduating from college and following a new career to a fresh city. Gordon Bakoulis, New York Road Runners editorial director and running coach says, “If you’ve moved to a new town or are starting a new job or school program, running is a great way to make friends and center your social life.” Join a running club or say hi to the cool girl in your boot camp class.
No funds? No problem!
You can totally run on an entry-level salary. All you need is a good pair of running shoes, a few pieces of apparel and an open road. Plus, Cathy Fiesler, MD, president of the American Medical Athletic Association, says the sport is a great way to de-stress, and the more time you spend sweating, the less time you’re likely to spend on activities that offer temporary relief (i.e., eating midnight french fries or drinking like it’s rush week).
Portraits by James Farrell
Hair and Makeup by Christie Caiola