Ed Whitlock is proof that age doesn’t slow you down. The 85-year-old runner just conquered a marathon in a sub-4:00 time, destroying the world record time for his age group.
During yesterday’s Toronto Marathon, he finished the race in an incredible 3 hours, 56 minutes, and 38 seconds—beating the previous world record by more than 30 minutes.
Seriously, how is this even possible?
In 2010, Whitlock told the guys over at Runner’s World that he didn’t “follow what typical coaches say about serious runners. No physios, ice baths, massages, tempo runs, heart rate monitors. I have no strong objections to any of that, but I’m not sufficiently organized or ambitious to do all the things you’re supposed to do if you’re serious.”
Nathan Helming, an endurance coach and trainer at San Francisco CrossFit, says that as long as you take good care of your body, it’s feasible to keep running well into retirement.
“A big thing we assume with age is that we wear down, but our bodies are meant to go for a really long time,” Helming says.
In fact, Whitlock has arthritis in both of his knees—but one rehab specialist told him that running could actually help his condition, reports Canadian Running.
If you want to stay active into your 80s, Helming says the most important thing to keep in mind now is your posture—both when you exercise and when you’re going about daily life.
Related: Are You Standing All Wrong?
If you sit and stand slumped over all day long, that’s what you’ll probably do during a workout, Helming explains. And poor form during your workout increases your risk for pain and injury—especially as you age.
Make an active effort to sit with your back straight or consider switching over to a standing desk, he says.
Incorporate mobility work into your exercise routine to further reduce your risk for injury and pain.
Helming’s go-to mobility move: the squat. It resets your posture and improves your range of motion in your hips, knees, and ankles—helping you move as well when you’re 80 as you could when you were 20.
Consider doing run-squat intervals instead of run-walk intervals, or try this Mobility Warmup You Should Do Before Every Workout.