Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"I'm 65; is it too late to start running for exercise?"

ZocdocAnswersI'm 65; is it too late to start running for exercise?


I just turned 65 and I now weigh too much for my size. I'd like to start an exercise regimen and am considering running outdoors. I think the fresh air would be better for me than a treadmill. I've never run for exercise before, so I'm unsure as to whether the newer form of exercise would be good for my heart. I'm concerned that if I start this I'll be opening up a can of worms that could be dangerous. Should I start out just walking first or can I just start running? Should I see a doctor first to make sure my heart can stand it? I've never had any heart health issues, and I don't want to initiate any now, but I am somewhat obese.


Good for you! Exercise can offer a huge list of benefits to almost all of us, and can help us to enjoy life more fully. In addition to the fresh air, the movement and the potential to boost your mood can be positive events that improve not only the length of your life but the quality of it as well. With regards to your specific situation, it is important to speak with a doctor before you begin any exercise program. This is because there are some questions that he or she may be able to ask that would help you to identify if you are at an elevated risk of having complications when you start into a more active lifestyle. Some of the common problems that can come (like you say, the can of worms), include heart problems that have been lurking beneath the surface. Not that the exercise would necessarily cause many of these, but it may expose them. This is best done in a safe and controlled fashion, which is why speaking with your doctor before hand is vital. Please speak with your doctor about your desires, and best of luck in this!

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.