Running is arguably one of the best forms of exercise for maintaining and improving overall physical fitness. While running is great for your cardiovascular health, there are modifications that must be made as you age in order to prevent injury. The following tips on running after 40 will keep you on-track and healthy!
It’s not something that we love to acknowledge, but it’s imperative we do so. After hitting 40, your body begins to change. You’ll begin to lose muscle, and experience a decrease in cardiovascular endurance, strength, balance, and coordination. Now, you’re never too old to begin a running program, but it’s highly recommended that you check with your doctor before doing so.
You can slow the aging process significantly by eating right, making healthy lifestyle choices (not smoking or drinking) and staying active. Keep in mind, though, that as you get older, you need to train smarter, not harder.
Tips on Running After 40
1. Increase Time and Intensity Slowly
First and foremost, it’s important for you to focus on proper running form as you age, especially if you’re a beginner. This will reduce your risk of injury tremendously. Once you’ve mastered proper running technique, you can get started on a running routine.
Keep in mind that it’s extremely likely that you won’t be able to run as fast or as long as you once did. We’re not saying that you can’t still run fast or long distances over the age of 40-you certainly can! However, we recommend that you progress slowly and increase intensity over time.
Utilizing intervals with longer walking periods and shorter running periods will help you build endurance, safely. Try the Slim Down with the Walk / Run Plan, as it’s excellent for beginners.
2. Take Time to Rest and Recover
As you get older, you’ll likely need more time to recuperate between workouts. It’s important that you listen to your body. If you feel extra tired or more sore than normal, you need to take it easy. Pushing yourself too hard can cause unnecessary stress on your joints, bones, and muscles, leading to injury. Remember, rest days are just as important as workout days, which leads us to the next tip.
3. Utilize Cross-Training
Cross training involves incorporating other forms of exercise other than running into your routine. It’s important that you give your body a break from running every other day or so, in order to keep yourself from burning out. You can add in other forms of cardio such as swimming, biking, aerobic class, etc…
Related: Top Cardio Workouts for Weight Loss
Perhaps the most important cross training exercise to incorporate into your weekly routine is strength training. This form of exercise will keep your bones and muscles strong so that you can continue to run safely. Try these awesome strength training workouts that are great for runners:
4. Eat the Right Foods
You should always eat before going on a run to provide your body with the fuel it needs to make it through the workout. Try these 15 Energy Boosting Foods for Runners.
Additionally, it’s just as important to refuel after the workout is over. You can add these Superfoods for Workout Recovery into your daily diet as well.
As our bodies age, our appetites start to diminish. This is why it becomes more and more important that every calorie is as nutrient dense as possible. Check out the Clean-Eating Grocery List, which is chockfull of nutritious foods that contain essential vitamins and nutrients.
5. Practice Yoga for Flexibility and Balance
Flexibility and balance is important for everyone, and even more so for older adults. It’s a great idea to start working on these two things as soon as possible, but it’s never too late to begin. Being flexible and having good balance will not just make you a better runner, but it will also keep you safe by preventing injury while participating in running routine.
6. Stay Hydrated
Generally, most people don’t drink enough water throughout the day. As you get older, your thirst mechanism may begin to malfunction. These signals tell you to drink when your body needs water. Aside from this, your kidney function also begins to diminish. This means your kidneys lack the ability to conserve as much as water as they once did. The combination of these two things can hurt your health significantly. It’s an excellent idea to keep a water bottle at hand all day long. It serves as an easy reminder to stay constantly hydrated!
You should drink at least 64 ounces of water each day. However, when taking on a running routine, we recommend you drink even more. Keeping yourself hydrated will keep your body functioning at it’s very best.
7. Adjust Your Expectations
It’s important to note that 40-year-old you may not be able to keep up with 25-year-old you. We’re not saying that you can’t be in fantastic shape in your 40’s, we’re just saying things are probably going to be a bit different. By applying the previous 6 tips to your routine, you will set yourself up for success to be in the best shape you possibly can be.
Setting your expectations too high, often leads to disappointment and discontinuation of a workout routine. Acknowledging that your body is changing and adjusting your expectations for how fast and/or how far you can run will help you stick to a steadily progressing training routine. This will maintain safety, while also helping you reach your fitness goals.
You can be the healthiest you’ve ever been, regardless of what age you are! Apply these 7 tips on running after 40 to your daily routine to improve your health safely.
Did you find these tips helpful or do you have one we left out? Let us know in the comment section, below!