Over Age 40? It’s Never Too Late to Start Running. How to Safely Chase Good Health While Hitting the Pavement

At any age, adding exercise to your routine is one of the surest ways to improve overall health and quality of life. Exercise has been proven to improve functioning in your immune system, help you keep your weight under control, and help you get a better night’s rest. What’s not to love?

But for people over 40, regular exercise is more important than ever. It can slash your risk for diabetes and heart disease, and the increased vascular activity can actually stave off cognitive impairment, keeping your brain sharp.

Even if you don’t regularly exercise, you might want to try running. You can also add it to your current routine: it’s an excellent choice for cross training. Running is easy to learn, requires minimal equipment, and you can do it nearly anywhere, which makes it popular with vacationers and people who travel often for work.

Starting Running in your 40s, university foot and ankle institute

With Age Come Challenges

You may be looking and feeling older every year, but if your heart and lungs are in proper order, it’s never too late to train. That said, getting older does present unique challenges that you should be prepared for.

As you creep into your older years, the collagen in your joints starts to deteriorate. Soft connective tissues lose some of their flexibility and become more susceptible to tears. Your bones will tend to become more brittle, making fractures more likely.

If you’re concerned about your joint or skeletal health, visit your orthopedist for an evaluation. For some, running may be off the table. But even if that’s the case, walking puts less stress on your body and can be just as beneficial.

Additionally, around age 30, our bodies begin to lose a small percentage of muscle mass each year. Exercise can’t stop this process, but it can slow it down considerably. Put in the work now for better mobility and more independence later in life.

Start Slow

If you’re new to regular exercise, you don’t need to start training for marathons in order to “make up for lost time.” Ease into your new routine. Your heart hasn’t been conditioned for long, sustained periods of stress, and that kind of strain can actually increase your risk of a heart attack.

Try walking briskly for 30 minutes each day, six days out of the week. You should be breathing heavy, but not gasping for air. Once this becomes comfortable, up the ante by alternating between brisk walking and running for 1-2 minutes at a time. You can increase the amount of time you spend running to your comfort level.

This method will add a controlled amount of stress to your joints, muscles, and cardiovascular system – just enough to help them grow stronger. You want to avoid overstressing them, which could cause a stress injury.

The Talk Test

To help you gauge whether you’re pushing yourself too hard, use the “talk test.”

Running talk test, University Foot and Ankle Institute

The “talk test” is a simple test. Essentially, you should be able to hold a conversation with someone while you’re performing your cardio exercise. If you can only huff and puff about 2 words at a time, you should slow your pace.

Additionally, the talk test is a great excuse to invite a buddy to run along with you. Running with a partner can be a lot more fun than running alone, and the two of you can hold each other accountable for your daily commitment.

Purchase Footwear for “Maximum Protection”

Choosing the right running shoes is instrumental in avoiding injury. Runners over age 40 should go for maximum protection when picking their footwear. Look for shoes with stiff soles. You can ask an associate for help finding the sturdier models, or you can pick up the shoe and try bending the middle yourself.

Proper orthotic insoles are also a great choice for runners of all ages. “Insoles can offer more arch support, correct overpronation and underpronation, and reduce unwanted mobility,” says Dr. Bob Baravarian of the University Foot and Ankle Institute. “They also provide extra cushioning and help distribute your body weight more evenly across the bottom of your foot.” You can purchase insoles at your local pharmacy or have your foot and ankle specialist fit you for a custom pair.

When do i replace my running shoes?

Replace your running shoes every 300-500 miles, or when they start to look worn out. When running shoes get too old, they can no longer adequately support your foot and may leave you vulnerable to injury.

Listen to Your Body

When you introduce running into your life, you might be pleasantly surprised to experience a little boost in your mood. Aerobic exercise triggers the release of endorphins, which can help put a spring in your step for a few hours afterward. Experienced runners call this the “runner’s high.”

Runner’s high can be addictive, which is great for your motivation to keep running. But, beware of overdoing it, especially early on. If you’re feeling pain in specific joints or muscles, that could be a sign that you’ve suffered an injury. Do not attempt to “run through the pain”! Get some rest and switch to walking or biking in the meantime. Call your foot and ankle specialist if you have any questions about aches and pains.

The UFAI Education Team

The UFAI Education Team

For almost fifteen years, University Foot and Ankle Institute and their nationally recognized physicians have been providing the most technologically advanced medical care for the foot and ankle with the highest success rates in the country.

As a teaching institution, University Foot and Ankle Institute’s Fellowship Program is among the most advanced in the nation.

We at UFAI are driven to get our patients back to their normal activities with the highest level of function, in the least amount of time, using the least invasive treatments possible. From start to finish, we are with you every step of the way.

The UFAI Education Team works to help empower our patients and website visitors with the most up-to-date information about foot and ankle conditions, treatment options, recovery and injury prevention. Our goal is to pass on truly useful information to our readers.

We hope you enjoy our work and find it of value. Please let us know!
The UFAI Education Team

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

20 − fourteen =

  • CustomerSure
    Dr Bob and the staff in Sherman Oaks are amazing! They are kind, thorough and caring!
    Anita D.
  • Yelp
    I had tendon surgery about 2 years ago at Kaiser and it was the worst experience of my life...Dr. Baravarian is a breath of fresh air! Finally!  A doctor who cares and really seems to care about your recovery! His ent...
    Mz P.
  • Facebook
    Dr. Baravarian got me back running when no other Dr. could. I can't thank him enough! Everyone in the office is so nice, I highly recommend them!
    Christie D.
  • Yelp
    I had my first experience with this office earlier this week. Dr. Franson spent ample time with me, and was very attentive to my concerns and questions. I especially appreciated his relaxed, but thorough, way of deali...
    Chuck S.
  • ZocDoc
    Great appointment. Great communication. Explained my particular situation very well, blending medical terms and everyday terms. Staff was very friendly and answered all my questions.
    Anonymous
  • CustomerSure
    I appreciated that Dr. Yau called me back quickly after I left a message and he then made time to see me that day.
    Virginia B.
  • Yelp
    Great Dr., great office, and wonderful patient attentiveness. Would definitely recommend.
    Roxana N.
  • CustomerSure
    You are one of the best doctors, and have the best staff, that I have ever seen. If I ever have a serious foot problem, I'll feel so much better knowing about you.
    Beverly S.
  • CustomerSure
    Everyone is nice & friendly, which helps a lot. Also they do great work!
    Hannah C.
  • CustomerSure
    I really appreciate the office flexibility, as I never know when my foot issue will flare up and I will need to be seen. It is unpredictable, so I am grateful that the staff works to get me in to see Dr Briskin!
    Nancy S.
Same day appointments now available!
or call 24/7:
  • University Foot & Ankle, a Preferred Provider to:
  • UCLA Health System - UCLA Medical Group
  • MPTF - Member Industry Health Network
  • Cirque du Soleil
  • ATP - Association of Tennis Professionals
  • And consulting physicians for:
  • C&S - Cedars-Sinai
  • Saint John's Health Center