This post was written by Gary Baker (from Active Authorities). Feel free to Submit a Guest Post in the “Contact Us” tab if you are wanting to write a preview or recap your running experiences as well!
As an older man in his 50’s myself, I understand all the troubles of starting a hobby as intimidating as something like running. Many people my age tend to just throw it off to the side, going with the mindset that because they did not pay any serious attention to their health earlier, there is hardly a reason to start now. I can get by the logic of that, especially as health problems become more apparent and it gets harder and harder every day to push yourself past even more limits. But right then and there is the issue. We all ought to start living actively as early as possible in our lives, but just because we have reached passed that point already, it does not mean we should forgo the experience altogether.
I started moving on my feet a couple of years ago. Prior to that, I was the typical adult male, going to work and then going right home to sit down even more. It was an unhealthy way of life but because of it I realized I needed to change something. It was in my 40s that I made the change, so I was well over my physical prime. I was not obese nor did I have any serious medical issues fortunately, but I still had the mindset that I needed to avoid that. Nowadays, I reap the benefits and enjoy a seemingly more meaningful life, making amazing connections with myself and my family. In this post, kindly carried out by the wonderful folks at the Run Oregon Blog, I want to discuss some of the things I learned that helped me start the journey and maintain that lifestyle years later.
This is probably the biggest advice I can give anyone that wants to get into running or jogging but are past their primes. You most likely don’t have the same mobility you did when you were younger, so starting slow is going to be what is best for your body to minimize injury risks. The last thing you want is to start too intensely only to hurt yourself and lose that motivation you had to keep going. Besides, for us older folks, our bodies and minds need more time to adapt to a new workload.
Realize why you are doing it
I chose to run because it is fun. It gets my heart beating and my legs moving. Plus, it is just about the simplest sport there is. I don’t have to learn any new rules or stay on a competitive edge. I just run because of the enjoyment and energy it brings me.
I also run because of the numerous health benefits. I feel fantastic after a quick jog, and the long-term pros are there. My heart feels healthier, my legs and back feel stronger, and I feel happier and more content with my life. I strongly believe these benefits have led to a more fruitful relationship with my wife and children.
Realizing why you are doing something is a big factor in your ability to continue doing it. More consistency means more success. As older people, we can’t give it our all every time with 100% intensity. But by giving decent effort on a consistent basis, we can reap the benefits in a healthier way.
Enjoy the experience
You’ve found a reason to start and are now taking action. The last piece of advice I have is to enjoy the experience. People often get mixed up in the health benefits of running and lose focus of the short-term gains, like adrenaline pumping as you get a good run in, having an activity you can share with friends and family, or just having the ability to physically get up and move to improve your life.
I want to emphasize enjoyment here, as it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking running is a chore. Get into running because you love it. All of the benefits I mentioned today, while huge motivating factors, come secondary. If you don’t love what you’re doing, what’s the point?