Running in Your 50s – Finding the Perfect Recipe for Running and Aging
As we enter our 50s, we have a wealth of knowledge from the life experiences we have enjoyed. For runners, these insights can be used to our benefit. If you’ve been running for years, you likely know your body well. Listening to what it is telling you plays a significant role in your approach to running in your 50s. This, and some important advice about running and aging, can help your level of performance. And more importantly, it can also help you keep that passion for running that you’ve always had.
Important Tips for Running and Aging
As we enter into our 50s, our bodies continue to change. Muscle mass continues to decline, which means we usually have increasing amounts of body fat. Flexibility, balance and coordination are also not as robust. And our body’s aerobic capacity continues to decline gradually. Fortunately, however, you can embrace several important strategies that can slow down these declines. The following are some great tips for running in your 50s that are proven to keep you in your best running shape possible.
Invest in Strengthening Routines: After 50, your lean muscle mass continues to shrink as does your bone density. This is especially true for women after menopause. While running helps, it’s not nearly enough to offset these aging effects. Instead, experts recommend having 2 strengthening sessions every week. Not only will this slow bone and muscle loss, but it will also reduce fatigue and injury risk. Plus, stronger muscles take pressure off your connective tissue and joints. All of this supports why strength training is important when running in your 50s.
Listen to Your Body: It’s important to use the wisdom you’ve acquired over time. If you’re body feels exhausted, take a break. Running in your 50s requires more recovery days built into your exercise routines. Of course, many runners hate taking days off, so instead, pick another less intensive activity on your rest days. Cycling, hiking, or yoga are a few great options.
Flexibility and Balance Training Is Key: Running and aging not only affects muscle mass and bone density, it also affects our balance and flexibility. Therefore, if you’re running in your 50s, you’ll want to consider some other activities to improve these areas. Many runners routinely participate in yoga or Tai Chi to improve their flexibility and balance. Likewise, plyometrics (think jumping exercises) are also excellent in this regard. These types of activities will improve your agility while putting more of a spring in your step.
Run for Fun: When running in your 50s, you should begin to focus less on performance and more on enjoyment. That’s doesn’t mean you can’t still set personal performance goals. But by paying attention to how running makes you feel, you invite opportunities to enjoy the sport much more. Running should be a fun hobby as well as a form of exercise. Thus, by being mindful of the way running makes you feel, you avoid thinking of it as a chore.
Healthy Running and Aging Transitions
Running in your 50s requires that you make a few adjustments that you may not have made previously. Understanding how your body is changing encourages you to consider changes in your running routines. This involves changes in your running schedule and your attitude toward running. Likewise, hydration and healthy nutrition become increasingly important. And making the mental shift to focus less on performance and more on positive experiences is also key. These running tips can help you make transitions throughout your running career, and allow you to get the most satisfaction out of your running.