Running might not be for everyone, but there’s so many people who find joy and in some cases a sense of therapy in their running routines. Everyone ages though, and when runners’ bodies begin to grow older, they often find themselves confused and unsure of how to properly take care of themselves. Here’s some tips on how to continue running as you grow older without hurting your body and mind!
- Get a physical exam and consult with your doctor. This is especially important if you have any medical conditions or risk factors for heart disease. As people age, they become more susceptible to a variety of health problems. To help catch these problems early, it is important for older adults to have a physical exam at least once a year. During a physical exam, the doctor will check the patient’s vital signs, including their blood pressure and heart rate. The doctor will also listen to the heart and lungs with a stethoscope. This is especially important of runners, as running can put extra stress on the heart and lungs. In addition, the doctor will check for any signs of arthritis or other joint problems, another area of concern for those who have been running for awhile. The doctor may also recommend some routine tests, such as a blood test or mammogram (for women). These tests can help detect diseases in their early stages when they are most treatable. A physical exam can be an important part of staying healthy as you age, it will also make you feel more comfortable about continuing to run.
- Start slowly and gradually increase your mileage and intensity level over time. Avoid doing too much too soon, which can lead to injuries. starting slow can make a big difference in how much pain you're in and how long you'll be able to keep running. Here are four reasons why it's important to start slow if you're an older runner:
a) It's easier on your joints. Joints tend to get stiffer and more painful as we age. That's why it's important to take things slowly when starting a new exercise routine or increasing your mileage. If you go too fast, your body won't have time to adjust and your joints will pay the price. By starting slow, you give your body a chance to get used to the impact of running without putting too much stress on your joints at once.
b) You're more likely to stick with it and remain comfortable. If you try to do too much too soon, there's a good chance you'll end up getting injured or burned out and quitting altogether. But if you ease into running gradually, it becomes less overwhelming and more manageable – meaning you're far more likely to stick with it for the long haul.
c) You don't have anything prove - so there's no need rush. Take advantage of this by starting slow and enjoying the process without putting any pressure on yourself.
d) Starting slow gives you time focus on form which can help prevent injuries down the road. Good form is key to preventing injuries, but it can be difficult maintain as we age since our muscles, bones, and connective tissues aren' t as forgiving as they once were.
- Wear proper shoes that provide adequate cushioning and support for your feet, ankles and knees. Replace your running shoes every 300-500 miles (or sooner if they start to feel worn out). You might not notice it at first, but having shoes that don’t fit properly or fail to provide strong support can damage your knees, feet, ankles, hips, and even other parts of your body two or three years later.
- Be aware of changes in your body and how they may affect your running ability . As we age, we tend to lose muscle mass, bone density, and flexibility – all of which can impact our running form and performance. Pay attention to these changes so you can make adjustments accordingly.
- Take care of nagging injuries right away. If you experience any pain or other issues while running, don’t try to tough it out like you did when you were 20. See a healthcare professional ASAP so you can get properly diagnosed and treated. The sooner an injury is addressed, the better chance you have of recovering and getting back out there.
- Make sure to cross-train. While there’s no need to pack every day with different types of workouts, you should still aim to mix things up on occasion both for variety sake as well as injury prevention. Join a sports league that meets once a week or two, go swimming, maybe even try yoga or meditation to keep your mind strong!
Running can help to relieve stress, lift your mood and fight depression. It can also increase self-esteem, provide a sense of achievement and promote relaxation. Endorphins released during exercise may even help to alleviate pain too. There are so many reasons to run, don’t let getting older stop you from running in a healthy and safe way!