Is it still worth it to start running over 50?

-Jan 7, Hannah Hargrave , Fitness -

Don’t let age deter you from slipping on your trainers and picking up the pace because running is a fantastic way to stay in shape whether you’re 30, 40, 50 or beyond. 

If you’re looking for a free form of fitness that’s good for the body and the mind then running is often the first port of call. But if you’re nearing the big 5-0 milestone you may think you’re over the hill to start pounding the pavement. 

While it’s understandable to have concerns over creaky knees and achy joints, that can be worsened by running, you can still make it work for you. 

Even if the only running you’ve ever done before, was for the bus, here’s how you can ease yourself into the sport and get fantastic results too.

Related: Why you’re never too old to ride a horse

Before you begin

Whether you deem yourself in the best shape of your life or you’ve been favouring the sofa a little too much over the years, you should still consult a doctor before you embark on running. By the time you’ve hit 50 there are unfortunately a few potential health risks you may have to take into account. So book yourself in for a consultation with your GP to ensure you’re fit to work up a sweat, and how best to begin. 

Buy the right equipment

Blisters and chaffing are a sure-fire way to turn you off running for good, so you need to have the right trainers and clothing to make you as comfortable as possible. 

If you haven’t got a clue what you should be looking for you can visit a speciality running store who will professionally fit you for the right shoes based on your biomechanics. 

Decent breathable exercise clothing will also make for a much more comfie workout. 

Walk to run

Just like babies have to walk before they can run, so do new runners. The best way to remain injury free is to gradually build up your training. This means introducing running intermittently. Try walking for five minutes and then running for one. Then when you’ve mastered that, switch up the equation and add more running to the mix. 

Related: Expert advice: The beginner’s guide to running 5k

Carry ID

Whether you’re planning on jogging around the block or embarking on a cross country adventure, it’s a good idea to take a form of identification with you, along with any health information. You can buy an ID tag which can be worn on your shoe or as a bracelet.

Don’t do too much

Once you get into the groove running can be addictive, but when you’re older you need more time to recover between workouts. So initially aim to exercise two or three days a week and as you improve you can up the intensity and frequency.

Add strength training

Cardiovascular activity is imperative for overall good heath but you should definitely add strength training to your regime. You lose muscle and strength as you age so you need to stay on top of this to remain as active and mobile as possible. You don’t have to hit the gym and start working out Arnold Schwarzenegger style but introducing moves using your own body weight, such as press ups and lunges is a good start. Yoga and Pilates are also great for your body and can help to maintain joint range, balance and flexibility. 

Related: 5 strength training exercises anyone over 60 can do at home

Don’t forget to stretch

Stretching before and after running will prevent injury. It’s easy to think you can’t be bothered with a warm up or a cool down, especially when you’re limited on time. But it really is essential to avoid pulling muscles. If you’re not sure how to warm up and down there’s plenty of guidance online to show you a simple five-minute routine. 

If you’re now raring to go here are some more tips for starting running and you might also be inspired with this age-defying workout too.

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