The Basics of Running For Seniors

senior runnerThis is a guest post by Sarah Jennings.

Running obviously isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and the desire to begin running on a regular basis strikes people at different stages in their life. If it happen to strike you at an older age, it may be difficult to jump into and to hold on to your motivation. As a result, many individuals give up almost before they even begin.

My mom is one of those people. During her younger years she paid some attention to her health but was never actively conscience about it. As she got older, she realized that she needed to start actively taking care of herself but wasn’t sure exactly how to go about it. Sports and other physical activities require a lot of additional skills that she didn’t feel she was up to learning, but running seemed to be something that she could get behind.

A lot of people, in fact, fall into running because it’s a way to get healthy and they feel that they don’t need to acquire new skills. While you may not need to learn how to swing a bat or dance to a beat, there are still some basic things you need to learn, or in some cases relearn, when it comes to running.

Dump the Bad Habits

Throughout your life you acquire bad habits and fears that you may never really be aware of and many people create these in regards to running. As a senior, it may be difficult to start running and you will inevitably be faced with complications and frustrations, but just like everything else you need to learn how to do it properly.

It seemed as though my mom went through the five stages of grief when she started running. She refused to acknowledge that she was going to have to face some limitations and begin with small baby steps when she started. She became frustrated and angry with herself and with others around her as she struggled to make a change in her habits. There were even a few times when she considered giving up exercising all together. It wasn’t until she stepped back from the situation and accepted the fact that she wasn’t going to be running marathons right away that she was able to enjoy herself.

Start Small

If you haven’t been very physically active in a while, it’s ok to begin running by not running at all. Go on walks instead. Set a time limit for yourself and each time you go out, try to move a little faster and go a little farther. This will help to gradually build your strength and stamina to where you can actually begin to run somewhat comfortably.

If you never get to the point where you start running, that’s ok too. Walking is one of the best ways to fight osteoporosis because it strengthens bones. Individuals who are stationary are more likely to suffer from osteoporosis due to weakening bones and lower bone density. Walking causes bones to experience a healthy amount of physical stress which will cause them to increase in density and gain in calcium. Besides, walking can still build cardiovascular health and can help to lower blood pressure.

Recruit a Buddy

Some people enjoy the solitude of running alone but it’s not for everybody. Recruit a friend to begin running with you. Some people tend to get lonely running by themselves so having a companion can help to make the experience more enjoyable. Plus you can encourage and push each other along the way. Running with a friend is also safer than running solo and you’re more likely to do it if someone else is relying on you.

Enjoy Yourself

If you ever get to the point where you are absolutely not enjoying yourself, stop! There are plenty of other ways to exercise and increase your health. Riding a bike or swimming has tons of health benefits and you may find that you enjoy it more. Improving your health doesn’t have to be a chore so find something you enjoy doing

Author Bio: Sarah Jennings has been taking care of others her whole life. In 2005, she moved her mother into her family home. She uses her personal experience to share with others about caring for the elderly. She currently writes on behalf of Brookdale assisted living.

Photo credit: senior runner image courtesy of theqspeaks via photopin cc

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