Running in Your 40’s, 50’s and Beyond: Is it doable?


Yes. It is doable!

I recently tweaked my back/hip and was convinced I had a permanent injury. Well, not so much convinced as worried. My back/hip hurt for a few days on and off, to the point I could hardly walk, and I was freaking out. All kinds of thoughts were going through my head…”What if this is permanent?”, “What if I can’t run anymore?”, “I can’t live like this, I have things to do!”, “I have a 10 miler and 2 halfs coming up, what if I can’t run them?”…and on and on…

Turns out, it wasn’t permanent. I’m better now and ran 4 miles this morning. Phew! Even though I am better, it made me realize that I am not as young as I used to be. WHAT?! And that I don’t recover as quickly as I used to. I also have noticed that sitting in front of this computer for long periods of time is worse than running 8 miles. Seriously. Since I started this blog I have spent more time sitting (rather than running) then I ever have. And my body has been stiff and my back is killing me. There definitely is something to the saying “A body in motion stays in motion”.  But how much motion is too much motion?

I have done some research and found out just because we are getting older, doesn’t mean we have to sit back and take it! We all want to age gracefully, (some of us more than others). 🙂 We want to look young, but more importantly we want to feel young.  Unfortunately, as we age, our bodies change, but we can make adjustments in our training and continue to enjoy our active lifestyles.

Our Aging Bodies:

  • Tendons and ligaments lose water resulting in decreased elasticity.
  • Discs in the spine stiffen.
  • Aerobic capacity decreases.
  • Metabolism slows. 🙁
  • Muscle mass decreases by 1% every year after age 30.

Much of these changes are related to inactivity rather than age!  (Turn off Netflix and go outside!) 🙂

Physical activity… such as running…has been proven to counteract the decline in the affects of aging.

How does running help?

  • Strengthens muscles.
  • Increases bone density.
  • Fitter bodies use glucose more efficiently.
  • Improves mood while decreasing depression and anxiety.

 “Scientific studies have shown physical activity rivals any drug for improving cardiovascular health, bone strength, and mental health” says Dr. Jeffrey Zilberfarb, an orthopedic surgeon at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and New England Baptist Hospital. (as written by Elizabeth Cooney Globe Correspondent   )

Rock it Racing 2016
Trail running in your 50’s!

10 Tips for new [old(er)] runners:

  1. Start easy. Increase your distance or time at a rate of 10% per week.
  2. Listen to your body. If you have pain, rest. This is not the time to work through the pain. As we get older it takes longer to recover, so rest to avoid injury. 
  3. Get plenty of sleep. Sleep releases growth hormone for cellular repair.
  4. Eat healthy. Eating nutrient dense calories becomes essential as we age. Make sure you are getting enough protein to aid in muscle repair.
  5. Drink lots of water. Kidneys don’t conserve water as well after age 40, so be sure to hydrate well before, during, and after long runs.
  6. Add high intensity intervals. (See my post Running terms defined for interval training methods.)We think because we are getting older we can no longer push ourselves, but that is a myth. It is important to “push the envelope” sometimes, to stay strong.
  7. Build balance. Yoga! I’ve said it before, but I feel like yoga was developed for runners. Not only does it help with balance but it stretches hip flexors, lower back and hamstrings, all things that tighten when we run.
  8. Strength train. So important as we get older. Strong muscles help keep your body in alignment and help you run strong. Builds strong bones too!
  9. Cross-train. It’s important to use other muscle groups and give your hamstrings a rest. Swim, cycle, hike and yoga are all great cross-training ideas.                                   

    Bikethecoast
    Me and Val–Bike the Coast 2016
  10. Rest! Rest days are essential as we get older. (if I say older anymore I’m going to get depressed!) I recently read that cross-training can be done on easy run days so that rest days are truly rest days. I tend to cross-train on my non-run days, which means I don’t really get a rest day. Hmmm, something to think about.

Conclusion:

Running into your 40’s, 50’s and beyond is totally doable! Running, or any form of exercise, has been proven to slow the aging process. Yay! So get out there and move and enjoy life!

 

For more information about easing into running check out Jeff Galloway’s Blog.

Jeff Galloway’s Blog

Jeff is well known in the running community for his run, walk, run method. (click link below to purchase his book on Amazon)

run walk run method

Run, Walk, Run Method  by Jeff Galloway

(Amazon is an affiliate link. By clicking on it and purchasing through that link I receive a very small compensation at no added cost to you.)

Thanks for reading! Remember…

 

Keep running my friends!

 

 

 


4 COMMENTS

  1. Jessica | 31st Jan 17

    This article inspired me to run even more! Thanks for clearing some doubts about the benefits of running!

    • Denise | 2nd Feb 17

      You are so welcome Jessica! Thanks for reading!

  2. Jeanine | 11th May 17

    Hmmm. Very interesting read. I might try this running you speak so highly of. Maybe I can be a runner. 😉

    • Denise | 12th May 17

      LOL. You should! Maybe your work-out buddy next door will run with you.

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