As we get a little older, we tend to lose our muscle strength, flexibility, and balance. This is a part of life. Fortunately, running after 60 is a terrific way to strengthen our bodies, while improving our cardiovascular health. Running offers other great health benefits like reduced risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, depression and dementia.

Here are a few insights and ideas to help you get started with running after 60:

Getting Started with Running After 60

Before you being your new running program, visit your doctor to make sure that your body is in proper condition. Get a full physical exam in order to have a complete picture of your current health. This is especially important if you have lived a sedentary lifestyle or are overweight or suffer from any chronic conditions; for example, osteoporosis may interfere with running.

Be honest about your health – you don’t want to have old injuries flare up. Know your limitations – walking might be better and safer; you can always start slow and work your way up to running.

Buy Good Shoes

It’s very important to get properly fitted for running shoes. You might have imbalances in your feet and body that have developed over time. Visit a sportswear or running store near you to get help in picking out the right shoes; it’s worth spending a bit more money for the right shoes and the right fit!

Have a Plan and a Route

Set goals. Decide how far you are going to run and find the best route that is safe and good for your body (smooth ground, not too many hills, etc.). Always let someone know where you run. Carry a mobile phone and whistle if you’re concerned about safety; there are also mobile apps that you can use as emergency alerts if needed – for example, here is one called “Emergency Alert” for Android devices.

Try the Walk/Run Approach

You have to crawl before you can walk, and you have to walk before you can run – and it’s no different for running after 50. This is one of the most effective ways for beginners to break into running.

Warm up with a brisk 5-minute walk, then run at a moderate pace for 2 to 3 minutes. Recover with a fast-paced walk for the next 2 to 3 minutes. Repeat the pattern for 25 to 35 minutes. Cool down with a 5-minute walk. Then slowly build up your endurance until you can run for your entire workout.

Big fitness goals can often be reached with just a small amount of time per day. Check out this article I wrote on how to accomplish anything in one minute per day.

Get a Friend to Join You

Everything is easier with a friend. If you can make running into a social activity, you’ll be more likely to reach your goals. Join a running group, or start your own – check out this inspiring article from “Real Simple” about a group of women who started their own running group.

For more ideas on how to get the most out of running after 50, check out the Running for Fitness site for older runners. If you’d like to find a women’s running group near you, check out this list of U.S. women’s running groups!

What are your thoughts on this? Have you started running after 50? What has been helpful for you in becoming more physically active? Please add your thoughts in the comments section below.

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If you are note ready for running, start with gentle yoga and get the strength you need to take the next step.

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