Running Tips to Stay Healthy from Childhood to Old Age
The beauty of running is that you can do it anywhere and throughout your life – as long as your joints cooperate. The list of reasons to run is always growing and this past year more than ever. With lockdowns around the world and people struggling to cope with stress and anxiety, a safe and easy option is to lace up your sneakers and go for a jog.
Whatever your reason is, we’ve got running tips to keep you healthy at any age and guidance on getting your kids into running.
How to Get Kids Running
Most children have the urge to run as soon as they have mastered walking and usually, it’s in the opposite direction of their parents. In fact, this may be one of the first times you do sports with your kids: chasing them down the sidewalk or through a park.
Being active with your kids is one of the greatest gifts you can give them. You’ll teach them to love what their bodies are capable of, which will keep them healthier throughout their lives.(1) The most important thing to remember here is to make it fun. If you’re a runner and you dream of running with your child in a few years, start with games like tag or kick a ball around.
Research shows that 15 minutes of running several times a week is a healthy way to improve fitness levels of primary school-aged children. Aerobic activity is just as healthy for kids as it is for adults as long as it is scaled to their level.
5 Tips for Running with Kids
Ready to get started? Here are 5 tips to get you out the door:
1. Mix walking and running
Don’t push kids too hard or they will quickly lose interest. Pay close attention to their condition and take walking breaks for rest and variety.
2. Add obstacles for fun
Why not climb over a bench or hop-scotch your way across the crosswalk?
3. Ignore distance and time
Don’t look at your watch for these runs. It’s now how far or how fast that matters, but whether your child will want to go with you again.
4. Look for Fun Runs
If your child is interested, signing up for short kids’ races can be a great way to show him or her how much fun it is to run with other children.
5. Mix up the cardio with a scooter or bike
Have your child ride or scoot alongside you when you run. This will keep them active, build their endurance and strengthen your bond with each other.
Did you know?
Budhia Singh is considered the world’s youngest marathon runner. At the age of five, he ran 48 marathons.
From Adolescence to Middle Age
Many people consider this period of time to be the prime running years. You have the energy and flexibility of youth on one end of the age range and the focus and dedication as you get older. It’s also a great time to start running if you haven’t yet. Setting specific goals helps keep you motivated. Why not get that six-pack you’ve always wanted?
If you’ve got a solid running foundation and plenty of distance under your belt, you might consider running a marathon or two during this phase of your life. Marathon performance peaks for elite runners around the age of 35, while casual runners might not peak until they hit 50. (2)
Running in your later years
Do yourself the favor of warming up and regular strength training. Your joints will thank you. As long as your health allows it, there is no reason why you can’t continue running as you age. You might have to adjust your expectations as an older runner, but staying active has been shown to improve cognitive and cardiovascular health. (3) It does wonders for your health and also makes you feel younger and more energetic, which is great for your emotional health.
5 Tips for Running at 50, 60, and Beyond
It’s never too late to start. Keep these tips in mind to avoid injury:
1. Check with your doctor
Always wise to do this before you get started, just to make sure running is the right choice for you.
2. Start slowly
This applies to anyone who is just starting out but is particularly important when you’re older. Let your body adjust to the impact of running on your joints. Cross-train with swimming and biking to build up your cardiovascular without the pounding on your joints.
3. Take time to recover
Your body won’t bounce back from hard workouts like you used to. Give yourself plenty of time to rest and recover.
4. Don’t skip strength training and stretching
As we age the cartilage that once cushioned our joints starts to break down. If you want to stay active without pain, it’s important to build muscles to support your joints. And remember to stretch to encourage circulation and speed up recovery.
5. Be proud that you are still running
It takes determination and courage to keep on running when younger athletes might be blowing by you with the confidence of youth. Be proud of yourself and enjoy the freedom that comes with running.
Did you know?
The oldest person to complete a marathon was Fauja Singh, who ran his final marathon at the age of 101.
No matter how old you are, it’s never too late – or too early – to start running. Adjust your expectations and goals to your fitness level, try different types of cardio to build endurance, and work on muscle development to support your joints. You may just find that running becomes a trusted friend who stays with you throughout your life.