Jogging is a great way to stay fit and slim whatever your age. Follow these tips to get the best out of your runs and avoid potential pitfalls.
If you’ve come this far in life without becoming a jogger, it’s likely you’ve convinced yourself you can’t do it. Some people just aren’t cut out for jogging, right?
Not necessarily. There are a number of reasons you and jogging might not have clicked yet.
First, consult your doctor to ensure there’s no reason not to take it up. Once you have that seal of approval, check over the below list to help overcome any potential boundaries.
Ready? Set, go….
Keep it fun
Rather than focusing on the number of miles or chasing faster times, think about goals that keep you interested. It might be exploring the local countryside more often, or jogging around your local park without stopping – whatever makes you feel motivated!
Dress the part
Good-quality, technical clothing built for running will make all the difference. Get yourself a supportive sports bra and a good pair of running shoes – ask for advice in a proper sports or running shop, as they can help you pick the perfect shoes for your running style.
Make sure you wear a sweat-wicking top and bottoms to lift any moisture away from your skin, and look for reflective strips so you can be seen if you’re running in dark or cloudy weather.
A light jacket will help on rainy days and, for colder months, layering is the key – gloves and a headband are your best friends for jogging on crisp days! And don't forget the Always Discreet pads – they’ll save embarrassment and keep you comfortable and dry for the duration.
If you’ve never run before, or if the last time you pounded the pavement was when Fleetwood Mac were top of the charts, build up to it from walking.
There are some instructive beginner’s apps available, like Couch to 5K, and when you start jogging, it’s smart to focus on time rather than distance: try to jog for one minute, then walk for 30 seconds and keep repeating that pattern.
As that becomes comfortable, take it up to a couple of minutes and so on, gradually upping your running time over the course of a few outings so eventually you’re not walking at all.
Find a running partner
See if a friend would like to join you, or take the dog for company. Sign up to local free events, such as runs that take place in parks. You’ll enjoy the atmosphere and meet other runners to share tips with and keep it social.
If you really get into it, sign up for a 5K race for charity. It will give you something to aim for, especially if you pick a cause close to your heart and raise money, which will help you stay motivated.
Track your progress
Note your jogs in your diary or a calendar so with each entry you can enjoy the sense of pride that comes with getting another run under your belt. If you achieve something new – like jogging without stopping, or discovering a new route – make a note of that, too.
Look after your joints
You naturally lose muscle mass as you age, but regular strength training helps. Stronger muscles should absorb shock better with each step, protecting your joints from wear and tear. Simple things like squats, planks, press-ups and lunges are great. Also, run on grass, not pavements, which can be hard on your knees.
On non-running days do other activities like swimming, cycling or a Zumba class to challenge your body in a different way so that joints aren’t dealing with the same movements all the time.
Taking an omega-3 supplement and eating some oily fish like salmon and mackerel should help keep joints lubricated and strong, too.
Good balance makes you less likely to trip when you’re out jogging, but if you do, it means you’ll regain your balance more easily. Taking a yoga class or learning some basic poses from a book or online that require you to stand on one leg can really help.
Yoga will also help with any stiffness in your back, hips and shoulders. Muscles lose some elasticity with time, but yoga will help you improve your flexibility.
Always warm up muscles before jogging too, with a brisk walk and some arm circles and heel raises.
Remember to rest
All runners need recovery time, but if you’re starting out in your 50s, you need a little more. Your legs may feel stiff and a bit achy for a few days after jogging. Listen to your body and don’t lace up your shoes again until it tells you you’re ready to.
Make sure you stretch after every run – this will help to ease post-exercise soreness the next day. If you still feel like getting your heart rate up on a rest day, do something else instead – Pilates (which is great for runners as it builds core strength), a walk or a gym class. And why not treat yourself to a deep tissue massage every now and then? After all, you’re a jogger now!
Do you have any jogging tips that you swear by? Let us know in the comments section below.