Running at an older age is an effective way to stay fit and healthy

By Nicole Ganglani | Photo by Quino Al / Unsplash

It’s a given fact that runners tend to slow down naturally as they get older. When you reach a certain age, your legs no longer feel the same and chances are that your personal bests could be well behind you. According to a Yale University research, running speed has been proven to decline about one percent per year as you age.

Running and aging could translate to a slower finish and higher chances of experiencing fatigue and injury. The sport could be tough on your muscles and joints, which is why injuries are inevitable. But getting older doesn’t mean you have to stop running—it’s just a matter of running smarter. It is, after all, beneficial to your cardiovascular health. It’s also an effective way to stay fit and strong as you age. Here are five tips can that help:

Keep Track of Your Nutrition

A balanced meal is critical in maintaining speed as you age. A typical Filipino meal has a lot of carbohydrates, which shouldn’t be the case for aging runners. Your daily food intake should consist of fruits, vegetables, and unprocessed food. As you age, it’s best to pass on packaged foods and sweets and rely on something fresh instead.

Maintain A Consistent Routine

If you’re training for a marathon or trying to develop a running routine, set your training goals appropriate for your age and current fitness level. As you age, your muscle fibers begin to shrink in size and number and cardiovascular endurance , strength, and coordination start to decline. Don’t overtrain but rather run efficiently and consistently on a regular basis. According to Verywellfit, a training routine could be something as simple as this:

  • Day 1 – 20-minute strength training
  • Day 2 – 20-minute easy run
  • Day 3 – Rest day
  • Day 4 – 30-minute cross-training activity
  • Day 5 – 30-minute interval run
  • Day 6 – Rest day
  • Day 7 – 45-minute slow-paced jog
Recovery is More Important Than Ever

Getting enough rest is as vital as your training routine. Your body needs to recover in order to handle the physical demands you apply to it. A study found that older runners are more likely to experience problems with their hamstrings, calf muscles, and Achilles tendons compared with younger runners. Use your recovery time as an opportunity to stretch and rest your muscles and joints. A way to treat your muscles is to invest in a lacrosse ball or a foam roller that can free up tight spots and make muscles more pliable. Moreover, the usual seven to eight hours of sleep is a must in order for the body to fully recover.

Don’t Miss Out On Strength Training

As you age, you will lose muscle mass, which is why strength training is a must to add to your routine. Strength training improves muscle strength that aid in absorbing impact while running. The best simple leg and core exercises are squats, planks, push-ups, and lunges. You’ll soon feel a huge difference in your running performance and injury resistance.

Guard Your Ankles

Aging takes its toll on your ankles as much as it does to your body. It’s a must to keep track of lower-leg strength and flexibility as this affects your strength and running speed. This means taking the time to stretch and strengthen your joints in the feet and selecting and investing in the right running shoes for you.

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