Exercising, or rather running is a great way to keep fit and healthy as you age.
Although it is a good way to stay fit, it is important to remember that it is considered a high impact sport and thus can be heavy on your muscles and joints if you don’t adapt your training to meet your evolving needs.
An interesting fact is that running continues be a popular sport, and is becoming more so in the age group 40+.
It is important to know your limits though as training in your more mature years is decidedly different in comparison to when you were in your 20s and 30s when you are at your physical peak.
As you age several factors affecting your training routine should be considered. One of those is your cardiovascular endurance starts to decline, muscle density becomes less, and strength, coordination and balance also start to decrease.
Becoming fit in these age groups should comprise a more holistic approach and lifestyle, and diet and genetics all play a big part in this.
So, the best approach to figuring out your best fitness routine is careful planning to ensure that you work smarter rather than harder.
The first step is to start slowly and increase distance running gradually to avoid injury.
Be realistic and kind to yourself regarding expectations. Don’t compare your goals and aspirations to those when you were younger as these will most likely be unachievable. Rather, set your sights on goals that are comparable within your age group.
You may need to take more days off to recover after a long run. So, consider adjusting your running routine to every other day with sufficient rest days in between. These so-called ‘rest days’ don’t have to be unproductive however, and can be interchanged with lower impact training such as yoga, swimming and cycling.
Strength training (such as lunges, squats, planks and push-ups) are ultra-important as we get older and will ensure your muscles are less susceptible to injury.
Do make sure that you work on your balance and flexibility with simple exercises such as balancing on one leg for short intervals, and stretching and doing proper warm-ups before races.
Getting a sufficient amount of sleep is also important to ensure you stay mentally fit and healthy, so try to get in as much shut-eye as you are used to.
With these small changes, you can still enjoy running in your latter years and can remain just as competitive whilst still enjoying all the benefits that running has to offer.