You Are Not Too Old to Run

Paul Scelsi tells you why. 

Paul Scelsi loves to run. He loves it so much, he wrote a book about it. He loves it so much, he wants you to love it, too.

Maybe you won’t love it in the same way he loves it… but won’t know until you try.

“Do it twice a week and stick with it for eight weeks,” Scelsi said. His book, Running Can Change Your Life for the Better: Here’s How to Get Started, is available on Amazon. “If you absolutely hate it, if it is not your cup of tea, you can at least say you tried it.”

You’re probably thinking, “I’m too old to run.”

To which I say, “Nonsense.”

People run well into their 70s, 80s, even 90s. As for Scelsi, he’s 58.

Holli, Paul & Stella Scelsi | Photo by Emily Lopez

Several years ago, when I was covering fitness for The Dallas Morning News, I went to the All-Comers Track Meet. People of all ages — and I mean ALL ages — were competing.

I signed up for the 100-meter dash. I’d run the 50-yard dash at YWCA summer camp and was pretty speedy. Granted, that was decades ago. But how hard could it be?

Harder than I remembered. I’ll just say I wasn’t as fast as an 84-year-old man in my heat and was barely faster than a 75-year-old. Click here to read more about one of the more embarrassing incidents in my life.

I share this only to say Scelsi might be onto something. You don’t have to run a marathon. You don’t even have to run a mile. You don’t need to be speedy, or have fancy shoes, or fork out money for special clothes or a technological watch.

You just need to go, as Scelsi likes to say, to that fifth house on your block. Or maybe you could set your sights on the fire hydrant at the corner. Or to the elementary school you pass in your car each day.

Then walk back home. Catch your breath. Do it again, if you feel like it. Or just keep smiling and tell people what you’ve done.

Scelsi wants you to run for many reasons, cardiovascular health and muscular strength being only two of them.

“I’ll skip physical benefits because those are the most obvious,” Scelsi said. “Running makes me feel healthy, keeps my blood flowing and keeps my blood pressure and weight in check.”

And there are plenty of other benefits, too: Running is known to boost moods and even as an energizer. It helps manage stress. It connects people to nature.

And, in addition to all this, running even makes Scelsi feel like a kid again.

“It keeps me feeling young,” Scelsi said, “and reminds me of running while playing sports, or playing games outside with my friends.”

Tempted to give it a try? Check-in with your doctor first, then follow Scelsi’s suggestions:

Pick a day to start. Tell someone. Write it down. Do whatever it takes to make sure you commit to it. Then do it.

Pick a no-excuses time. When are you most likely to run? Put another way, when are you least likely to find an excuse to skip it?

“I run in the morning because I’m a morning person,” Scelsi said, “and because the longer I delay, the more likely something else will creep into my day.”

Just go. Don’t think about time or distance. Put on a pair of comfortable shoes and head out. Wear headphones if you choose, or, like Scelsi, listen only to the sounds of nature, to your heartbeat, and to whatever thoughts come into your head.

“If you love it, you’ll eventually want to get running shoes, moisture-wicking clothing and a watch,” he said.

Be sure to rest a day or two or three between your next jaunt, then head out again. If you’re sore, take a little more time. If you’re hurting, consult your doctor.

If after a couple runs, you’re wondering what all the fuss is about, don’t give up yet. Just stick with it those eight weeks, twice a week.

“If someone quit after only the first time,” Scelsi said, “I’d be so disappointed for that person, for the potential benefits you wouldn’t know until you experienced them.”

He continued: “I like to tell people, ‘Give yourself a gift. Go for a run.’ Every time I run I feel as if I’m giving myself a gift – one that lasts so much longer than the actual run.”

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