Running for seniors
It’s never too late to start running. Jogging might be a better description, or even moving faster than your normal stroll to the shops pace – either way, getting a lick on is good for your heart, muscles and soul.
We’re still in isolation in the good old United Kingdom, but our government is allowing us out to exercise. Which is nice, considering that being cooped up 24/7 would be bad for physical health, mental health, and the divorce rate.
Get running – never too late to start
Why is running good?
The benefits of running are universally accepted as being beneficial for your physical and mental health. As a form of aerobic exercise, running can:
- reduce stress
- improve heart health
- help alleviate symptoms of depression
Some researchers think running may be good for us because it’s something we evolved to do – a natural exercise if you will. With all UK gyms closed for the duration, what better time than to run round your neighbourhood. It’s a great feeling – wind in your hair, sun on your skin, body at one with nature. And all for free.
See your Doctor – if you can
So is it time to start jogging around the deserted streets of your area? It might be, except that the reason for our current confinement makes the first piece of advice a little difficult to achieve – consult your doctor.
Our NHS is under huge strain, visits to your GP are at a premium and you make find this sort of consultation is simply not possible right now.
So, not wanting to be accused of promoting an activity that your doctor would advise against, I would suggest some caution is required here (assuming you are in the getting on a bit category). On the other hand, if you are reasonably fit and healthy but just need to shift a few pounds of sofa surfing fat, you might want to take the risk. If it doesn’t kill you it makes you stronger.
The second items that always appears on a “start running” blog is to get some decent trainers. Those 10 year old Dunlops with the sloping heels and battered fabric are not going to cut it. Even in our current circumstances Amazon are still delivering, so while the custom fitting might not be available you can still get some comfortable footwear.
In any event, we’re not going to be embarking on marathon training here, so providing your footwear offers some support and doesn’t get laughed at in the street you should be just fine. Disclaimer.
You also need some gear – my runner in the above pic has made a good start – plain white tee shirt, avoid the Hawaiin Shorts and black socks – you’ll be fine. But if you do hear laughter, ignore it – you are doing this for you, you are retired, who cares? Or go home and change.
Time was when you could just slip on the trainers and off you would go. More complicated now though – you obviously need a smart phone (always useful to carry for emergencies anyway) and a running app – I like Strava but other apps are available. Strava records your time, distance, route and progress – and if you feel like it you can advertise your running prowess to the world via social media. Your friends and family will be impressed.
It doesn’t end there though – ear buds or headphones are necessary, and a choice of your in ear distraction. Could be music, podcast, language app, radio – the world is your oyster in the running entertainment stakes.
Have a goal
In normal times a program like couch to 5k would be a goal – but since any form of racing is but a distant prospect we need a personal goal. Running 5k non-stop would be a goal – even completing that distance is a worthwhile target. And the benefit of having a goal is that you can work towards it slowly, with an aforementioned app recording your progress.
Hopefully when this pandemic is over it will be possible to enter an organised run – Park Runs are very popular, and organised races are open to all ages.
For now – just keep moving if you want to age well.
2 metres apart of course.
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