Everything You Need To Know About Running As You Age

Everything You Need To Know About Running As You Age
Exercise is medicine – and all formalities aside, this statement is truer than we may fully realize! Science and research have proven time and time again that exercise and movement have more benefits to health than anything your local PCP could give you to help boost your health. Typically, the current guidelines suggest getting in at least thirty minutes of moderate exercise five days a week (equaling out to 150 minutes), and this can be through swimming, cycling, lifting weights, or running, although there are many more activities to choose from. Running, in particular, has multiple health benefits, including a decreased risk of Type 2 diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, and even obesity, to name a few. Aside from the internal health benefits of running, this type of exercise can also improve one’s overall outlook on life – thus impacting our mental health greatly as well.

What Happens As We Age

What happens as you age though? Would running still be considered a beneficial activity for those in their 40’s, 50’s, and even 60’s? And the answer – absolutely. One study, in particular, found that a group of master runners – those characterized as 40 years of age or older – who ran in the NYC Marathon over a period of almost thirty years increased in size, while the group that composes those younger than 40 decreased over time. You’re never too old to continue (or begin) a running program. There are just some general tips and advice that you should follow in order to prevent any injuries that might happen along the way.

How To Begin Runner At An Older Age

For starters, the most important thing you need to do before beginning a new running routine (or if it’s been awhile since you’ve been to the doctor), is to go and get a check-up. This will ensure that your body is prepared for the strain that running can put on it, and will give you a chance to speak with your primary care physician and get you both on the same track to obtaining a healthy lifestyle. Granted, everyone experiences aging differently, but there are some factors that can carry over across the board once fitness levels peak earlier in life – and these are some things that your doctor can speak to you about. This includes factors like balance and coordination decreasing, changes in muscle size and strength, and changes to your cardiovascular system, just to name a few.

None of those changes that happen naturally – to everyone! – is something that needs to be of alarm when it comes to planning your running program it just means that more thought needs to be put into duration, intensity, and recovery as you age.

How Hard Should I Be Running?

When it comes to intensity in a running routine, this is where many people can be thrown off – just because you want to run harder, doesn’t mean you’ll stave off muscle atrophy or improve your VO2 max overnight. On the flip side, you want to increase your speed and/or mileage slowly; not only does this improve your endurance and strength over the long run, but it will also help to combat any injuries that might come your way.

Duration is another important factor in training and is something that can also change as we age. Instead of putting in a ton of miles to train for a marathon in the next month or two, you’ll have to step back and realize that your body has to train for its current age and fitness level. This can be done by alternating strength days with interval training days, as well as days during the week planned for longer runs. This, over time, will help you to reach your goals, and keep you healthy in the process!

The Importance Of Muscle Recovery

Lastly, your recovery as an older runner will be different than it was in your younger days – but that doesn’t mean you have to completely cut out your movement! Just realize that you might need a day or two more of extra rest in between your runs; and that rest could still be active recoveries, such as yoga or a walk through the local park. This rest in between runs will help prevent injury to the lower body since it has been shown that injury occurs more often with older runners than the younger counterparts.

Enjoy your time logging miles, after all, running is one of the best exercises you can do to maintain your health. Just know that you might need a bit more recovery time than you used to, and planning out your duration and intensity is key in order to help prevent injury. Listen to what your body tells you, and enjoy the road!

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