Running is amazing for physical and mental health at any age. Read this if you’re one of our 50+ female runners.
Has anyone told you to “slow down” as you get past 50? Or even that you shouldn’t be running at all?
It won’t surprise you to hear that we are on your side. Whether you enjoy a gentle jog, or strive for PBs in races, we know that running can be a fantastic form of exercise for women in their 50s and beyond. So next time someone acts surprised to hear that you’re a 50+ runner, show them this list of benefits!
As an older runner, you will still experience the natural signs of ageing. And that’s fine - after all, there are lots of positive things about getting older. But the good news is that being fit, healthy, and active can minimise some of the potentially damaging sides of ageing. The major contributor to ageing is “nurture” (not nature), so if you stay healthy and active, you are likely to look and feel better than younger people who are less active.
3 Things To Know About 50+ Running
Aerobic capacity: as you age, your body will deliver less oxygen to your muscles. A bit of high-intensity training will help keep aerobic capacity higher as you get older.
The solution: make sure your running training includes some pace work, intervals, or sprints.
Body fat: a bit of extra body fat is to be expected, especially post menopause. But you can work on the other side of the equation - which is loss of muscle mass.
The solution: focus less on losing body fat, and more on increasing or maintaining muscle mass, especially after the age of 60.
Sarcopenia: this is the term for loss of lean muscle mass as you age. It actually starts around age 40. The more muscle mass you can maintain, the stronger and fitter you can stay.
The solution: make sure you are eating enough protein, and include some resistance training in with your running sessions. If you only want to run, try hill reps or sprints.
Benefits to Bones, Muscle and BMR
Studies into exercise physiology research have found regular moderate exercise (like running) can help boost bone density, keep your basal metabolic rate higher, and minimise the amount of muscle mass you lose (sarcopenia). This last factor can help you stay more mobile, flexible, strong, and injury free as you get older.
Have A Healthier Heart
Running helps you avoid (or minimise) the natural decline in aerobic capacity, boost your maximum heart rate, and keep more blood volume pumping with each heartbeat. As far as your body is concerned, running keeps it young!
Your Emotional Health & a Sense of Purpose
And the mental health aspect can’t be ignored. Running (especially outside) can keep your sleep time and quality higher, which will boost your mental wellbeing. Running gives 50+ women a valuable “me-time” outlet for tackling stress, staying happier, and side-stepping the numerous emotional issues that can come with life, work, relationships, and a grown-up family!
Running might also give you an important sense of friendship and community in your 50s and beyond. This can be important for women when life events - like retirement, or the kids leaving home - bring changes to the social circles you had in your 30s and 40s. Running clubs, training partners, and jogging groups welcome women of all ages. It’s an all-inclusive sport for energetic, dynamic people who simply love to stay active.