Most seniors know the importance of regular physical activity for health and well-being. Running can seem intimidating to some seniors who are new to it. You might think that you could get injured, that running is too vigorous for you or or that it's just boring. However, jogging and running are one of the simplest aerobic exercises out there, but recent studies have shown that it can make you live longer.
Researchers at Stanford Medical School found that running actually slows down the aging process, protects from disabilities and can extend your life. The results of the study surprised the researchers by proving that vigorous aerobic activity can reduce the risk of orthopedic injuries as opposed to increase them and the risk of injury was extremely low. In addition, running can be taken up at any time and can be done almost anywhere with very little equipment. All you need is a good pair of running shoes.
In addition to warding off chronic diseases and increasing longevity, running can have a profound impact on senior mental health. Increased blood flow while running can improve your mood through a release of endorphins. The physical benefits are what most seniors see once they start running regularly. Running can make your muscles stronger, help with balance and even improve how your heart functions.
Where to start
If you're new to running, the best way to begin is to ease into it. In fact, it might be a good idea to consult with your physician before embarking on any new fitness routine. Walking is a simple and effective way to start before gradually increasing how fast you move and how far you travel. Eventually, your legs will be strong enough to start running.
For seniors, a good pair of running shoes can be crucial to make running as easy as possible. The more enjoyable the experience, the more likely you are to stick with a running program. Many runners enjoy exercising with a partner who can help motivate and get you both moving regularly.
If done correctly and efficiently, running won't be damaging to your body and you will be able to reap the full benefits. Without proper form and posture, you could be vulnerable to feeling uncomfortable. To run with proper form, stand upright with your shoulders square and back. Lean forward to get your upper body to lead your legs and keep your back straight by not bending from the hips.
It is important to look straight ahead and relax your shoulders, neck and back muscles. When moving your legs, concentrate on lifting from your abdomen for a more efficient run. Finally, find a rhythm and speed you can maintain for an extended period of time and try to keep the same pace throughout your run. If you are running outside, be sure to watch out for bumps and potholes in the street or sidewalk and always exercise during daylight hours.