From the time we hit our 30’s, several physical changes take place in our bodies. From muscle mass, to aerobic capacity to lung and muscle elasticity declines, our bone density falls, body fat (groan) increases, metabolism slows down and the immune system becomes weaker. As negative and pessimistic as this sounds, it’s just the way our bodies behave as we get older.

It’s fair to say then that these changes have an adverse impact on running performance. We end up with reduced stride and leg length, and have less ability to store energy. All this contributes to a fall in performance.

There is never any reason to give up running, unless you have been told so by your physician. Also, it is never too late to start running but keep in mind that if you are above 50, you must go for a check-up from a physician before starting any new physical program or sport. Once you have the green light, remember, running helps to slow down the effects of ageing, improves the health, fitness and mobility of older people, and improves psychological health. We can’t stop listing the benefits of a good run.

Here are a few tips for older runners among us to ensure an injury-free run and making sure your performance is at its optimum.

  • Take more rest days between sessions and avoid over-training. This is what will keep you running for many, many years
  • Increase your training quality but cut back on the mileage. Running every day is not a competition
  • Make sure you take enough time to warm up carefully before every run.
  • Stretch after every run. This helps protect muscles which are less elastic and prone to injury.
  • Increase the variety of aerobic training. Take up swimming or cycling.
  • Focus on your weight training. Increase it so that it compensates for your decline in muscle mass.
  • We hope these tips help you to remain strong, and run happily for a long time. Lace up and hit the road!

    Main image: Paul Nestor

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