Think You’re Too Old to Start Running? Think Again! Here’s How to Get Going
If you think that being over 50 means you’re definitely too old to run, you’re very much mistaken. In fact, according to research, running is one of the best things you can do to improve your health and wellbeing; and anyone can do it, regardless of age or ability.
What the Research Says…
According to extensive studies carried out at University of California in Stanford, USA, running can not only prolong life expectancy; but slow the rate of heart-related deaths. It also seems to reduce the rate of deaths from cancer, infections, neurological disease and other causes.
Professor James Fries, who conducted the research, commented: ‘If you had to pick one thing to make people healthier as they age, it would be aerobic exercise’.
Getting Started: A Guide
So, the evidence suggests that running is preferable to taking supplements or relaxing in an armchair. However, the big question is: how do you get going? If you’ve run before, you may be familiar with how to start training, but if running is new to you, getting started can feel bewildering.
Here are some helpful tips to help you get set… and go!
- Get in the right frame of mind. A major obstacle to running is psychological response; more often than not in the form of excuses. Obviously, if it’s pouring with rain outside, this can dampen your enthusiasm. However, if you start making less justifiable excuses, bear in mind why you want to do this in the first place; namely to get in shape, keep fit and extend your life.
- Find a running buddy. Joining a local running group, or simply running with a friend, can provide a lot of motivation when you’re getting started. Even if you’re not in the mood to go running, the reluctance to let down your running chum is likely to motivate you to get out of the house and do it anyway. Plus, running with someone else is a sociable and enjoyable experience.
- Warm up thoroughly. As you get older, your bones naturally lose density; and it’s important to remember this when running, as you don’t want to have an injury. Make sure you start any running programme gently; and start on softer surfaces, such as grass, rather than hard pavement. Always warm up your muscles before commencing, and if you need to stop mid-run and stretch out, do so.
- Have a goal. Having a goal can act as a powerful driving motivation. If you’re already in fairly good physical shape, you may want to make it your goal to take part in the local half-marathon. However, you could simply make it your target to run for twenty minutes without getting out of breath. Find a goal that suits you personally, not anybody else.
- Get the right gear. You don’t necessarily need to spend a fortune down at your local sports shop, but it is important to get good running shoes at the very least. Good quality running shoes will absorb impact whilst allowing your feet to breathe. You’ll also need a water bottle, and possibly some breathable clothing, so you enjoy a greater level of comfort when running.
Racing to the Finishing Line
Keep a running diary, documenting when you run and for how long each time. This is great for keeping you focused on your goal, as it details clearly just how far you’ve progressed.
Remember, if you experience any pain or discomfort whilst running, stop and arrange to speak to your GP. You should also consult with your doctor before starting if you think you may have any existing health conditions that could impede your progress.