When it comes to physical fitness, running, irrespective of the age, is the all-around champion. With no fancy technique or practice needed, anyone can get into their running shoes to get their cardio and metabolism up. Even if you don’t feel fast or flexible, running over 50 can help keep both mind and the body energetic.
Is it Good to Run after 50?
Improvement in emotional and mental health, prevention of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease, are a few benefits of regular exercise and running in particular. According to a new study by the Stanford University School of Medicine, there are many advantages of running training over 50; fewer disabilities and a longer span of active life. Additional benefits include improvement in muscle strength, reduction in the risk of falling and fracturing bones, and coronary heart disease. These and there are many more ways running improves your health!
Do all these sound like a dream to achieve? Well, running over 50 years old is absolutely possible!
Tips for Running Over 50
No doubt, running has tonnes of health benefits. It makes you feel alive, happy and confident and the best thing is it’s free. But in order to achieve your fitness goal, running should be approached in the right way. You need to be aware and know how to start running at 50. Well, if you are above 50 years old and planning to start running the suggestions below will help you put your running shoes.
We all are victims of a sedentary lifestyle, giving our body the least amount of work to do. The effects of leading such a lifestyle might not be evident when we are young but as we grow older, this is surely an invitation to unwanted health problems. Today, a lot of people in their 50’s suffer from diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart issues. Stress and a sedentary lifestyle are the primary contributors. Imagine yourself enjoying all the pleasures of life while others make regular visits to doctors and live a controlled life. Losing those extra pounds, spending time with nature, and participating in an activity with friends and family to de-stress, are other reasons to push yourself to go running over 50 years old. However, living a long healthy life without illnesses is the primary motivation for everyone to run.
If you are new to the sport of running or had a long break, it’s important to get a stamp of approval from a physician or primary health care professional. By the age of 50, there is a decrease in aerobic capacity of the lungs, increase in body fat and shrinking of the muscle. Also, there is a chance that you may have acquired lungs, heart or joint diseases. So, it’s always better to consult a doctor than doing guesswork.
It is very important to warm up before running to protect muscles that may be prone to injury due to a loss of elasticity. You can start by simply walking on the treadmill, either at home or a gym or at the park to build up speed. Warming up is beneficial in stimulating muscle excitability and also makes the overall running experience better. Following a warm up routine for your run will go long way in helping you meet your running goals.
Focusing on strength training is important for all runners but more applicable to older runners over 50, as with age you tend to lose muscle mass. Strength training helps to avoid this loss by improving the muscle strength. The muscles are able to absorb more of the impact as you run, thereby reducing the stress caused to the joints. While you go about strength training, you need to follow the same rule of going slow in order to avoid injuries. Start with half squats and continue till your body gets well-adjusted to the new exercise. Then slowly move on to lunges and push-ups. Strength training can make a big difference to you when running over 50. Other exercises that you can try are aqua-running, skiing, swimming and cycling.
It is an effective way to prevent muscle soreness. You are less likely to fall during running if you have good coordination with your body. To start with, stand on one leg for 30 seconds and then switch. Basic yoga poses such as tree pose, eagle pose, and dance king pose are equally helpful.
When running over 50, it is helpful to adopt an intermittent running and walking plan. Olympic runner Jeff Galloway is credited as the founder of this strategy, which helps to build endurance until your body can fully adapt to a running regime. You can start with 5 minutes of brisk walk.
Want to become a consistent runner? Follow our 13 tips for consistent running .
As the saying goes, ‘Two Heads Are Better Than One’; so even if you are a lone wolf, it’s better to find a running partner. You both can compare your progress to remain motivated. Another way to achieve this is to join a local running society or to work with a coach.
Map out your running route if you plan to run on the street or in the nearby park. Having a clear idea of your running duration will help you to track the distance you want to cover. This can also be achieved by maintaining a running calendar to keep track of activities like distance covered, time, physical condition, weight, and weather.
When running over 50, it’s equally important to be proactive and taking the warning signs of an injury very seriously. Taking preventive steps include taking body massages, allowing the body to cool down after an activity, and taking rest after cross training. You need to take a break from running and see a physician if the pain lasts for more than three days. Always keep an emergency contact number ready with you.
Get proper shoes for running, which will help you to set on even ground and prevent running-related injuries. You can visit a local sportswear store to buy them. Also, wear well fitting clothes to avoid fall-related injuries. Though a pedometer is not a necessity, it’s helpful in estimating the distance covered.
To know more about which gears runners should have read – 5 Gadgets for every Runne r
No one can deny the importance of a healthy diet at any age. Base your diet around carbohydrate and protein rich food such as brown rice, sweet potatoes, egg, vegetables, olive oils, fruits, and nuts. Along with the food, always keep your body well hydrated. It will positively improve your running performance.
Read about Effective Hydration Tips for Running
Don’t let age be a deterrent, be enthusiastic enough to enjoy running. Set a fitness goal, increase your leg strength, build physical endurance, and avoid injuries. As according to 62-year-old California International Marathon runner, Suzanne Ray, “The key to longevity in running is joy”.
Build a better relationship with your body, get happier, slimmer, more positive and less stressed – have fun as you run!