Since your body has already gone through 50 years of strains, wear and tear in the hips, back, knees, ankles and feet, jogging can be more difficult after the age of 50.
As a result, most people who were initially runners and joggers in their younger years usually switch to a different sport like swimming or cycling. As these exercises are less strenuous this should minimize potential injuries or chronic pain in their old age.
Though there are other sports that are less grueling to your knees, running also has health benefits you can take advantage of. A 2014 study at Baylor College of Medicine was conducted to identify if running and knee osteoarthritis have an association with one another. Among the 2,683 participants of this study with the average age of 64, it was concluded that the runners, despite their age, had lower incidence of osteoarthritis.
It was also discovered that running has a protective benefit against knee osteoarthritis. They identified that the greatest risk factor for this health issue was in fact a high BMI score, not running.
If you plan on running as your exercise routine or to join a marathon for the challenge, it is important to start with mild exercises first to help strengthen your leg muscles. Except proper exercise, below are some important tips to remember to keep healthy joints:
Consider Your Knee Health
Remember the saying “When you get older, the knees are the first to go.” This is quite true especially if you have had knee injuries before or if you are particularly overweight. Both of these issues, in addition to many other factors can contribute to the onset of inflammation-related diseases like arthritis.
If the knees are already vulnerable, jogging can eventually speed up the progression of other knee-related medical conditions. But if you live a healthy lifestyle, choose a proper diet, maintain a healthy weight and use suitable running shoes, you will find that the benefits of running at this age of 50 or more can outweigh the risks.
Supplement Your Nutritional Needs
You probably know by now what you should and should not eat when trying to stay healthy. Apart from your nutrition, you should also consider taking your multivitamins and other health supplements to fill in nutritional gaps that can improve your knee health.
Do some research and ask your doctor what dietary supplements will work best for you before trying one. A few examples are chondroitin sulfate, turmeric curcumin, omega-3 capsules, calcium, MSM,Tri-methyl-glycine. Turmeric is quite popular today but to know the exact effects of turmeric on rheumatoid arthritis, you can read testimonials and reviews about it online.
Seek A Doctor’s Approval
Running equates to pounding your feet on the ground. This force can sum up to at least 2 to 3 times your body weight and the impact will cause tremendous stress. If you want to start running marathons or running just to lose some weight, see a doctor’s approval first. Even if you don’t feel any pain or joint stress, a doctor can identify the early signs of wear and tear and decide if running is good for you or not..
They are also able to determine if your plantar fascia has gone through this problem. It is possible that your doctor may prescribe running or orthotic shoes and devices to support your exercises and prevent the progression of chronic pain in your feet and joints.
Always Hydrate Well
The ability to sweat and cool down gradually wanes with old age and you may find yourself feeling extremely hot or overheated when you run. On top of that, the sense of thirst also decreases along with age.
With these two factors in mind, you may start becoming dehydrated without even feeling the need to drink water. For these reasons, running under the heat of the sun can be quite dangerous for older adults.
To stay safe and hydrated, try to avoid running marathons during summer seasons and stay put during the hottest part of the day. Always remind yourself to drink water every now and then even if you do not feel the need to. It is recommended to drink at least 8 oz for every hour your body is moving actively.
Prepare For Neck and Back Pain
Running in the wild, especially in a marathon, entails that you can possibly run on rocky, uneven surfaces, and go uphill and downhill. Nearly half of older adults are suffering from some kind of neck and lower back pain, and it is easy to exacerbate both of these when running.
If you are suffering from back pain, try to avoid running downhill. Doing so will only allow your body to overcompensate your weight by leaning further and straining your back. A downhill run also stresses the neck by looking down constantly. As much as possible, run on flat surfaces and keep your gaze and head at level to avoid neck and back pain.
If possible, talk to a running coach to guide you regarding your weekly mileage. It is recommended that you do not increase your miles more than 10% a week. Above all else, pay attention to your body’s response to running. Muscle soreness is inevitable but it should not last for more than a week. If you start feeling ankles, knees and back pain, you probably pushed yourself too far and you need to slow down. Excruciating pain entails a doctor’s appointment.
Joining a local running club in your town can be a wonderful source of pointers and suggestions, without mentioning friendship. These groups usually have a running coach or an appointed leader who has had a long term experience in marathons. Clubs like these also add a social aspect to your life which is great for your mental health too.