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Tips to Start Running in Middle Age

You are never too old to start running. In fact, running is a type of aerobic activity that promotes a healthy lifestyle. In middle age or at any age for that matter, start slowly, pay attention to your nutrition and hydration, wear the appropriate shoes and be aware of temperature extremes. If you have a heart condition or another health ailment, consult your doctor before starting a running regimen.

Ease into Running

In middle age, your body may be more prone to injuries, so it is important to warm-up by stretching or walking before running. In addition, you should not be ashamed to start walking for several days or weeks prior to running and by starting your routine by running a short distance. Let your body tell you when it is ready to walk or run for four miles instead of two. Also keep in mind that it decreases your injury risk to allow rest periods in between your heavy exercise days. According to the Running Injury Free website, it takes approximately 48 hours for the body to adjust to a heavy application of stress. For example, you may run three miles one day and one mile the next day, allowing your body to rest but still providing a day of exercise.

Nutrition and Hydration

Eat a small snack like a piece of fruit and a few crackers before you run. This provides your body with energy to continue your exercise. In addition, don't forget to drink fluids. You should drink throughout the day and while you are walking or running, especially if you are going a long distance. Drinking a sports drink during and after exercise will provide your body with needed electrolytes. The Complete Running Network website recommends eating and drinking within an hour after your run to aid in recovery and avoiding spicy foods several hours prior to your exercise.

Good Shoes

If you want to run successfully and pain free, it is essential to have good shoes. By middle age, your feet may have been exposed to years of abuse so running comfortably is even more of an issue. The Complete Running Network website recommends shopping for running shoes in the afternoon when your feet are bigger and getting shoes from an actual running store. A store that sells running shoes can determine your foot type and fit you to an appropriate running shoe depending on your needs.

Temperature Extremes

An older person may be more sensitive to extremely cold or hot temperatures. When you are running in cold weather, dress in removable layers that provide a space for dry air near your skin. For example, avoid heavy cotton sweats. Don't forget to wear a hat, gloves and warm socks to keep your head, hands and feet warm. If you are running in hot weather, drink plenty of fluids, wear minimal, lightweight clothing that allows you to sweat and attempt to run in the morning or evening when it isn't so hot. If the temperature is just too extreme, run another time.

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About the Author

Jackie Carmichael has been a freelance writer for more than 10 years. Her work has appeared in "Woman's World" and "American Baby" magazines. Carmichael is a licensed registered nurse and has worked in fields related to cardiovascular health and psychiatry. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from The Ohio State University.

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