Want to improve your cardiovascular health and overall fitness as you grow old? Running can prove to be the most effective way to stay strong and fit. However, running can have a high impact on your joints, prove to be tough on your muscles, and even lead to injuries.
Therefore, it is very essential to adapt your running workout to synchronize your body’s needs and to prevent overuse injury.
Some people may give you the impression that running in your 40s and afterward might not be healthy and safe for you. Despite this, running is very popular among this age group. Master runners (above 40 years) are the fastest-growing age group in the running program.
Research has shown that running at a later age brings more good than harm as runners enjoy better aerobic health than their non-running counterparts. A study has also observed that running reduces the incidence of hip replacement and knee osteoarthritis.
Why is running important at 40?
It does not matter whether you are a veteran with hundreds of miles under your belt or just starting to run at 40; running always has amazing health benefits that are especially important as we age. It has been observed that those who engage in running programs enjoy better health and greater longevity than their counterparts who don’t run or exercise regularly.
Even if you indulge in running programs and other workout activities, you will reap results. A study has shown that taking a slow-paced walk 10 minutes a day is linked with a reduced risk of deaths caused by cardiovascular diseases.
This is not the only benefit, as along with your physical health, it has a very positive impact on your mental health. It betters your mood and helps you burn excess fats and maintain a healthy weight.
So, what awaits you is to give running a try even if your age has exceeded 40 or 50. So, Lace up your shoes, head towards your first running program, and make the next phase of your life the best one.
Tips You Should Know When Start Running at 40
Whether you start running at 40, starting to run again after a long gap, or continuing your running habit after, you must have been interested in knowing how to make your running program effective and enjoyable as your body age.
Running cannot be without risks, but you can reap maximum benefits and minimize the risks by following the tips being discussed in this article. So, Let’s dive in.
1. Adjust Your Goals
Whether aiming to train for a marathon or running to improve your cardio health, it is very important to adjust your goals according to your age and the requirements of your body.
Hence, if you have a goal to build a running habit after the age of 40, then you must schedule your weekly running program and should decide how many days per week you are supposed to do running workout and when to take rest to prevent overuse injuries.
- Day 1: 30-minute strength training
- Day 2: 30-minute easy run
- Day 3: Rest day
- Day 4: 40-minute cross-training activity
- Day 5: 40-minute interval run
- Day 6: Rest day
- Day 7: 1-hour slow-paced jog
However, while adjusting your goals, you need to be realistic, and once you set them, you need to stick to them proudly as a committed and active runner. Moreover, consistency is the key here. There should be no excuse that could prevent you from following your running routine.
If the weather is non-cooperative, treadmills can provide you with an alternative to keep up with your pace. Following a consistent routine is more important than looking for ideal running workout conditions for weight loss or any other fitness goal.
2. Strength Training
As you keep up with your running plan, you need to make sure not to get any overuse injury and keep your body on a strengthening journey. You don’t need to have equipment as your body moves like push-ups; squats and lunges provide your body with enough challenge to keep it in balance.
In addition, your body may also feel the need to do core exercises like bridges or dead bugs and planks, etc. Studies have revealed that exercises help your body get accustomed to running more efficiently.
3. Take Rest
You may find it unnecessary to rest in your running schedule, but the best way to start getting compliance with the beginner running program is to take out time when you are taking a break from running, and this break must be a part of your schedule. This is because your body needs time to recover. Body at a later age needs more time to recover than when you were young.
Hence, every week there must be either one or two days per week off from routine to provide your body with complete rest. Meanwhile, you can reward your body with a therapeutic stretching class or a massage. Participate in cross-training activities with a lower impact like swimming, rowing, biking, or yoga on days off from running.
Consider adding cross-training activities in your running schedule as you need to do more than just run if you start running at 40. You need to consider adding swimming, bicycling, or joining a local gym or fitness class. Because you need to engage your muscles other than those that participate while running.
Hence, cross-training helps you shift muscle exertion throughout your body for a uniform strengthening of all the muscles in your body. This can help you in weight loss and in overall health improvement. Hence, you can add fun activities like yoga or Zumba that you always have been interested in. However, this can not be the replacement of a regular running workout.
5. Get prepared for Side Stitches
Side stitches are caused by the lack of oxygen supply in the muscles surrounding the gastrointestinal tract. These are common among people starting running at 40. Bending over the waist and exhaling hard and long is recommended to prevent this condition.
However, you need to slow down your pace for quick healing of side stitches. If they become a recurring issue, it is recommended to avoid solid food right after the running workout and always keep your body hydrated.
6. Invest in Quality Gear
Running a program is an easy and affordable way to get started into the fitness routine as you are not supposed to have a lot of fitness gear. You only need to find a good quality pair of running shoes that must accommodate your jogging, fit your feet, and provide cushioning. If you are new to running, you need to know how to choose the perfect running shoes.
Moreover, you need to invest in the apparel to wear while running for a more comfortable experience. Hence, you need to go for some moisture-wicking fabric that can help you stay dry while running for even miles and maintain moderate body temperature. Gradually, you may want to invest in advanced gadgets like water-resistant Bluetooth headphones and a GPS watch. But, these are complimentary.
7. Maintain Proper Diet
Trying to run having a weight loss goal is never a good way to do dieting, as you may lose track of the balanced amount of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats required by the body. Running is an efficient way to lose weight, but there is no magic bullet way to achieve your goal.
When it comes to taking a diet before and after the running workout, it is suggested to start with an empty stomach in the morning, or you can take a very little snack. After running, you need to take a balanced diet. To be energized and ready for the next starting line, you need to properly fuel up for your runs.
Your diet must contain ingredients rich in carbohydrates like whole grains, vegetables, and fruits to gradually convert your glucose into energy as your body requires to keep up with the increased activity level.
Protein constitutes the building blocks of muscles and hence must be taken through high protein food items like eggs, poultry nuts, etc. Moreover, to protect your vital organs and properly absorb important vitamins in your body, you need to have healthy fats that you can gain from plant-based oils and seeds. However, if you feel lazy, you can consult a dietitian to ensure that you get enough calories to support your running routine.
8. Dive Deeper
Starting running at 40 as a beginner should not be taken as a complicated sport but rather should be enjoyed as an organic and freeing activity. With time, you may want to add workout goals to your routine. For this, you can join some local running clubs, read great training books, or hire a coach to help you set your running goals and achieve them efficiently. Moreover, joining a running community is also a healthy attitude.
Running later in life helps you gain improved health and bring joy in your life by heightening your self-esteem and bringing a renewed curiosity into your life. It gives a vibe that if you can join a running program and do good in it, what else in life can you not do?
9. Connect to a Community
You may prefer to run alone, but it is a great way to stay motivated when you join a running group as this can help you connect with other people who are also starting to run in their 40s. You can find a running group through a running store, community center, or a local gym.
This digital age even allows you to connect through social networking sites or some applications and be a part of a global community. This allows you to get the opportunity to connect with new people to discuss your sporting passion. Connecting to a community motivates you. However, you must not take it as a competition as the speed of running development is not the same for every individual.
10. Avoid Competitions
Running is an activity that most people take as a competition. It is very easy to compare your running with someone else, or even to your younger self’s routine. However, this can work against you. Because your age requirements are body needs can not be compared with someone else, and even you can not compare with your routine 10 years ago, as with age above 40, efficiency decreases.
So, the constant feeling of being lagged may fail to keep you motivated because running biometrics fluctuates with age. Hence, while setting your fitness goals, avoid comparisons and go for some real challenges that accustom your age.
11. Have fun
Nothing can beat the joy of crossing a finishing line. Don’t miss any opportunity to treat yourself to your accomplishments. Whether it’s your first goal achievement or 100th, always embrace it with a sense of joy and pride after finishing the event.
After every accomplishment, whether it be your first treadmill run, your first 5K, first run around the block, first mile, or first marathon, don’t forget to give yourself credit and bring exhilaration to your life because every step matters are worthy of celebration.
12. Embrace Playfulness
Once you get accustomed to your running program, you can add more workouts like hill repeats or fartlek. These can be done at any place and are easy to perform. Fartlek is the speed play where you determine the speed and area to run. You can vary the speed, time, and distance throughout your running.
Hill repeats are disguised speed workouts where you charge up the hill while taking baby steps, angle your body, pump arms, keep your head up, and breathe. At the same time, downhill involves the workout where you slowly walk or jog down. While starting running at 40, you can mix mindfulness with running by paying attention to things happening around you.
While you may have been considering how to start running at 40, let me tell you that there is no hard nut to crack. You only need to follow some tips as has been discussed, like setting up goals and slowly pacing towards excellence while catering to your body needs.
Moreover, there must be one or two days per week when you should take a break and let your body heal from overuse injuries. So, when are you tying up your shoelace and heading towards a healthy running workout?