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29 Aug 2007

runner
My husband is a runner averages about 50k a week. He wishes to do longer distances plus faster times. He is 58, weighs 89kg, height 6ft1inch. According to his BMI he comes in at 25 which is considered overweight now he thinks he should lose weight. I'm wondering if the general BMI doesn't take in to consideration his age. I am very aware of weight and health and don't think he is overweight. I'm not happy about it from a age, health prospective also don't know how he'd do it as I am also very aware of a good diet so we eat high veg, fruit with carbs, protein making up the rest. We also don't smoke or drink. Any thoughts? Thanks
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Expert
FitnessDoc
fitnessdoc

01 Jan 0001

Hi Pp

The BMI doesn't have too much to do with weight, but what it does sometimes do is discriminate against people who have slightly greater muscle mass. Because these people are not necessarily overweight, and muscle is not unhealthy, but they tend to register on the higher side when it comes to BMI. So there is a chance of that, though I must say, that as one ages, muscle mass tends to go down, and for that reason, it's less likely that an older person will have a higher BMI because of muscle.

The only way to know for sure would be to have a comprehensive body composition assessment, which is slightly expensive and won't really help anyway.

The thing here then, is that he needs to decide what he wishes to achieve from his running, because those two goals - more speed and more distance may actually be exclusive. In other words, he might be able to do both, at the same time. And again, as we age, we lose two things. One is muscle mass, which means we lose the ability to run faster. And the second is the ability to recover after training, which means losing the ability to do longer and longer running.

That's not to say, of course, that he can't run longer or faster, but realistically, the normal case is to say that if a person is staying the same speed as they get older, they are actually getting better! Does that make sense!

So my concern is that he is setting an unrealistic target for himself, and perhaps he should choose one and see what happens. I'm a big fan for more speed - if he goes for this, and tries to do some faster running, then he must probably cut down on distance, because increasing both will cause problems. So my advice is that he spend maybe 6 months changing his training focus, but cuts down to maybe 40 or 45 km a week, but with some faster running in there. And see how it goes.

Good luck
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