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background info

  • I've been running twice a week, ever since I was 17 years old (currently in my 30's).
  • Running always takes place outside (never in a gym or an air-conditioned space).
  • I run in most weeks of the year (45+), no matter the season (hot / humid climate too).
  • Running time is always 1-2 hours before sunset.

things to take into consideration

I intend to continue running for as long as I am capable of it, but I wouldn't want to harm or damage my body / physical potential.

question

Is it getting more dangerous to run in hot/humid climates as I get older?

Should I consider changing my running habits with age (limit humidity conditions for example)?

  • There's no one-size-fits-all answer to this. Whether or not something is safe for you is something to discuss with your doctor, not the internet. You could have underlying health risks that you don't even know about, and therefore, you could end up getting disastrous advice from complete strangers. – Alec May 21 at 15:00
  • @Alec: Whilst I understand the sentiment behind your comment, I think the question is not intended to be “am I fit for running?” so much as “do we (collectively) have to worry more about heat regulation as we age?” And in that regard, I think that it is a fair question to ask and answer. – POD May 21 at 16:10
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To answer your question directly, yes. In broad terms, our ability to thermo-regulate diminishes with (older) age. This is the consequence of our reduced ability to sweat and to modulate skin blood flow. The existing research generally refers to individuals above the age of 60, however, and there presently seems to be no data on the subject for younger adults.

That said, exercise in high heat and humidity is always potentially dangerous due to our inability to cool ourselves evaporatively. Sensible heat loss through sweating, which is our primary thermo-regulatory mechanism at higher temperatures, is inversely proportional to the water vapour content of the ambient air. At high levels of humidity, evaporative heat loss is reduced to zero, leaving only the insensible heat loss mechanisms of convection and radiation, which are dependent on the temperature differential between the body and the environment.

Since the most recent evidence suggests that our core temperature rises as a function of our gross power output, and not, as was previously understood, the relative portion of our capacity (%VO₂ max), it is clear that there are fundamental limitations to what or how much we can perform in hot, humid conditions.

So there presently exists no evidence to suggest that you should have diminished thermo-regulatory capacity at your current age, but thermo-regulation is always an issue in hot, humid conditions. And perhaps counter-intuitively, your fitness level and hence power output works against you. It is therefore important to measure your performance according to the environmental conditions.

I hope that gives you a better understanding of the considerations.

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I don't read about running, i just run.

I am a 73 years male. I have been running and jogging from when i was at highschool. Have been running an average of 25 miles a week.

It is of course harder in hot summer days. But not too hard with proper hydration. I carry a bottle of cold coffee or sport drink or soda mixed with water. I also take a few salt packets with me and occasionally eat them.

I have been slowing as I age but still put in 6 miles over an hour.

I have ran on the Malibu beach trail a total of 1007 kilometers from the time they closed it to the public due to Covid19. The Police stopped me a few times but i would say I am on my way home and they let it slide. Now its open last memorial day.

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  • thanks @kamran, your answer was very helpful - may I ask the weather conditions where you exercise? (e.g. any of the following - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_classification) – orangesomethingorange May 26 at 12:20
  • I run in Los Angeles, summer and winter on the beach. I just clocked 1007 kilometers from March 1dt 2020. After they closed the beaches to public. Technically i broke the law. – kamran May 26 at 15:19
  • Thanks for the info ;) – orangesomethingorange May 27 at 7:20

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