Staying injury free when running over 40

Beating injuries for runners over-40

By remaining active and running after we hit 40, we improve the way we look and feel, and actually add years to our life. Running is a great way of keeping in shape. However, runners over-40 should be aware of the greater injury risks posed by their age. Here's our guide to runners over-40 wanting to get fit through running and take good care of their bodies in the process.

Of course, we all need to come to grips with the physical realities of getting older. Although you may be trying to train as strenuously as you did at the age of 25 or 30, your body may not be able to perform accordingly. Some runners are able to take this change in their stride, while others attempt to fight Mother Nature, often ending up injured as a result.

Here are a few tips to help you stay injury-free while remaining fit and retaining a healthy lifestyle.

Warming up and cooling down for runners
As we age, a proper warm-up and cool-down becomes increasingly important. Our muscles become brittle and lose their elasticity as we grow older, so the chances of injury increase dramatically. By taking just ten minutes to thoroughly warm-up your muscles before a workout, you could save yourself months of lost time due to injury.

Stretching for running
As we pass the big four-oh, it’s crucial that we commit ourselves to stretching and flexibility training. It will help compensate for the natural loss of flexibility and running stride that comes with age. By remaining flexible, you will substantially decrease your chance of pulling or straining a muscle when running, which could result in a nagging injury.

Rest between runs
For some of us, taking time off from running can be difficult. We depend on running to retain a certain level of fitness - not to mention sanity! However, taking time off is also important for performance, as well as avoiding injuries. As we age, our bodies take longer to recover from racing and hard workouts.


By allowing your body adequate time to recover, you will actually receive greater benefits from your workouts. Rather than the hard-rest-hard routine you were used to in your twenties and thirties, it may be time to switch to a hard-rest-rest or hard-rest-cross-train regime to reap the full benefits of your hard work and remain injury-free.

Cross-train alongside running
Cross-training is a wonderful way for master runners to take an extra day of rest, while still enjoying an aerobic workout. Make sure you participate in non weight-bearing activities such as swimming or biking. Cross-training alleviates the stress running puts on your body (especially on your knees, shins and hamstrings), while allowing you to maintain your level of fitness.

Resistance run training
Lifting weights is a sure-fire way to help preserve your fitness and injury-free status. Resistance training will increase your muscle strength, muscle mass and bone density, all of which help to fight injury and maintain fitness.

As we age, it seems as though our bodies begin to betray us. We notice a decline in our performance; we recover more slowly from our runs, and become more vulnerable to injury. However, by following these simple tips and accepting the inevitable, we can remain healthy and happy for years to come...


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