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Beginning Exercise For The Over-Forties

Millions of people take up running in their forties or later and may benefit from a few training tips specific to their special physical and psychological needs.
Slowly Increase Time and Intensity
If you are new to running you may find that you can't go for long before getting winded. To make gradual progress begin your running program by alternating 30 seconds of running with 3 minutes of walking for a 20 minute session. Over time you will slowly increase the amount of time running and decrease the time spent walking. This slow transition will help prevent injuries and build strength and endurance in the muscles.
Maintain a Positive Attitude
If you are taking up running later in life you may find that it doesn't come easily. Keep in mind that you are doing this for fun, for health and most of all because it's a great, efficient way to get fit. You don't need to be competitive to get health benefits from running so take it easy and have fun with it.
Rest Between Runs
The best way to avoid injury or over-training is to make sure you are fully recovered from your previous run. One great way to determine your recovery is by taking your resting pulse each morning before you get out of bed. Once you establish a baseline reading (after a few days) it's easy to tell if you aren't fully rested or if you are over-training. If your morning heart rate is higher than your average baseline, especially after a difficult run, you may not have recovered fully. If that is the case you can take another day off or just do an easy workout for the day.
Choose Your Terrain Wisely
To limit the chance of injuries, run on a smooth, flat, even and forgiving surface. Especially if you are just beginning and are older, you want to baby your joints and muscles and limit any chance for falls or twisted ankles. So don't start off by trail running in the mountains!
Pay Attention to Joint Pain
You may be more prone to joint injuries as you get older, so if you notice any pain in the joints during a run, stop and walk. You might need to be a bit more forgiving and flexible if you are an older runner. Keep in mind that you can alternate running days with another low impact exercise such as swimming and biking and still be able to maintain a bit of running. In fact, it's unlikely that you will want to run ever single day, so find an alternate exercise that you enjoy.
Drink Enough Fluids
As you age your thirst mechanism becomes less acute. That means that you may not feel thirsty even though you need fluids. To avoid potential dehydration, make sure you drink enough. One easy way to tell if you are getting enough fluid is to make sure your urine is a light color and not dark or concentrated.
Perform Strength and Balance Training
In general, as people grow older they experience a decrease in strength, balance, and co-ordination. A weight training routine can help you stay strong and prevent injuries, while helping you maintain good balance.
Run Smarter, Not Harder
Older runners have the advantage of wisdom and experience on their side. You don't need to train as hard or long, if you train intelligently. Learn how to use the above tips to your advantage and you will be able to enjoy running as much, if not more than when you were 20.

Oct/15/05







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