Running Over 50: How to Stay Healthy and Motivated

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

Aging causes a number of physiological changes such as saggy skin, slow metabolism, and faster weight gain. Hitting the middle age is not an excuse to slow down! Don’t lose track of your health by sitting on the couch and catching your soaps all day. Running is a great way to stay fit and it’s not just reserved for young people. You can take running’s health benefits well beyond your 50s. If you love running but concerned about staying motivated, consider these tips:

Connecting With the Right People

Don’t let your age stop you from reaching out to other runners. Connecting with people is a great way to stay motivated. It doesn’t matter if it’s your first run or you’ve been running all your life; getting off your shell and making friends is a positive step towards achieving a healthier, more active lifestyle.

Set a Goal

It’s easy to let go when you’ve reached a certain age. And most people who reached 50 tend to put exercising at the bottom of their everyday to-do list — and some don’t even exercise at all.

Runners slow down too and this is quite normal. But if you are serious about making progress and leading an active lifestyle—even if you’re middle-aged and reached a slump—comparing your lifestyle with people your age is a great motivator too. Men who don’t exercise lose about 6 to 8 percent of their muscle mass per decade.

Set a goal. Reach a target weight before an important event like your upcoming class reunion. It’s a great way to whip your butt to shape.Without being too smug about it, go to your class reunion and show them that time didn’t slow you down at all.

Think About the Benefits

Regular exercise not only lowers blood pressure, reduces the risk of health diseases, and boosts bone density; it could also help maintain youthful vigor. In fact, a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reported that exercising—including running—has eliminated almost all the damaging effects of aging in mice. A Stanford University research is backing up this claim by concluding that 50-year-old people who run will live longer.

Training Smart

There are some types of training that can cause injury in older runners. If you’re in your 50s, it’s best to develop a customized training regimen to minimize the likelihood of sustaining injuries. You don’t need hardcore cross training to stay in shape!

Enroll in a yoga class and do core exercises to keep your muscles flexible and strong. Do a lot of resistance work at your local gym twice per week to develop leaner, stronger muscle mass and fight atrophy or the decrease in muscle fibers associated with aging. Then, do your training every other day to stay motivated.

Mix It Up

Doing the same ol’ thing is boring. Why not challenge your body and keep your motivation up by occasionally making changes to your workout routine? If you’ve been running the same route for several years, why not go the other way, discover other paths, or go to local track and have fun? You could meet new people, reconnect with old ones, and have plenty of opportunity to share your story!

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