Maybe you have been running for years, even most of your life. Or perhaps you are looking for a way to stay fit and fabulous over 50. Either way, running provides lots of health benefits and can be safe for older adults if done correctly. You might not set the personal records or PRs of your twenties and thirties, but running is about so much more than being fast. You can enjoy greater muscle mass, stronger bones and joints, and better cardio-respiratory fitness as you age, keeping you fabulous after 50.
You want muscle, and what’s more, you want to keep your muscle as you get older. When you reach about 40 years of age, your muscle strength and mass begin to decline. This process accelerates at around age 65 to 70. Adding strength training to your routine, as an experienced runner or someone just taking up the sport, can alleviate some of the loss. More muscle protects your bones, joints, tendons and ligaments, and helps you to run injury-free.
Make sure that you are getting enough protein in your diet as well. Evidence suggests that higher protein intake can mitigate age-related muscle loss in both men and women, though women may need to eat more of this vital macronutrient. It can be a challenge to get sufficient dietary protein to support your running as you age. If you are struggling, looking into products to supplement your protein intake can be well worth your while. Find out more here.
Runners of all ages should stretch to elongate shortened muscle fibres and prevent injury and soreness. This is especially important for older adults since it may take a lot longer to come back from even a minor injury than it would have when you were younger. To run safely, you should warm-up for five to ten minutes, even doing something as easy as a walk, just to get the blood flowing. Once you are warmed up, find a routine of dynamic stretches to do before you really get your work out started. Dynamic stretching is based on stretching motions rather than performing a stretch and holding it. Once you have finished your run, incorporate a round of static stretches into your cool-down routine.
Balance is crucial to running safely. And as we age, we tend to lose some of our balance for a variety of reasons. If you experience balance loss, it is important to talk to your doctor. In addition to being serious in and of itself, balance loss can be a symptom of even more serious medical issues, so get it checked out. Fortunately, there are exercises you can do to improve your strength and balance. Incorporating some of these into your stretching routine could help to stave of balance problems, and keep you running safely well into older adulthood.
In summary, running can be a great way to maintain your quality of life as you age, and it is a great habit to develop or continue. Make sure to consult with your doctor to be certain that it is the best choice for you. And make sure you are consistently maintaining and improving your strength, balance, and flexibility.