Advice on how to run well and strong as you move into the masters age groups

Running after 40 is an excellent way to boost cardiovascular health, minimize cancer risk, improve blood circulation and stay physically fit and strong. According to recent studies, running also reduces hip replacements and knee osteoarthritis incidents.

However, running puts significant pressure on the muscles and joints, making you vulnerable to injuries, especially when you do not develop a training routine tailored to your fitness level and needs. If you just hit 40 and you’re thinking about incorporating running into your daily routine, here are five tips to make the task more straightforward, enjoyable, and safer.

1.   Consult your healthcare provider

Whether you have any health issues or not, it is best to speak to your healthcare provider before you take up running after 40. Running is a high-intensity routine, so it could be harsh on your cardiovascular fitness, lungs, and heart. Consulting your physician allows them to perform an overall body evaluation to identify any underlying conditions, enabling you to avoid worsening any severe health complications. Your healthcare provider will also offer personalized guidelines to help you remain healthy and safe. For instance, they could tell you the impact of running on your heart rate when you are on medication.

2.   Understand your limits

Before you start running, familiarize yourself with ageing’s physical effects. Once you hit 40, your performance starts to decline, and you may experience changes like:

  • Shrinking of muscle fibers in number and size
  • Reduced balance, strength, and coordination
  • The decline of cardiovascular endurance

Be sure to evaluate your ageing experience based on your activity levels, genetics, lifestyle, and diet. This will help you avoid working beyond your body’s limit to prevent severe health complications.

3.   Start slow

If you are a beginner, it is best to increase the pace and duration of your workout cautiously. Dramatically increasing your pace or distance could result in injuries and soreness, keeping you sidelined. As an older runner, start slowly, then gradually increase your speed and effort.  For instance, you could start with a 20-minute workout, mainly when you have never run before. You should then indulge in a five to 10 minutes warm-up and stretching. Next, run for 30 to 40 seconds, followed by two to three minutes of slow walking. This enables you to build strength, boost overall fitness and reduce the risk of injuries.

4.   Practice proper form

The proper form improves your running efficiency, allowing you to work out faster and longer. It also reduces the chances of injuries and other health concerns caused by poor form. Be sure to perform exercises such as high knees to improve your form. Alternatively, hire a running coach to help you work on the proper running form.

5.   Cross-train

Besides running, consider incorporating other forms of exercise to boost mobility, strength, and endurance and prevent injuries. Strength training is an excellent addition to your running program. It helps with muscle building and strengthening ligaments which helps protect the body against injuries. You do not even have to invest in equipment for strength training exercises. Keep your body in balance by doing push-ups, squats, and lunges.

Endnote

If you just turned 40, it’s not too late to start running. Speak to your doctor, know your limits, start slowly, practice the proper form, and cross-train for easier and safer running exercises.