We are all getting older, but that doesn’t have to mean you have to become weaker, more subject to disease, or depressed about it. You can make positive lifestyle changes to keep your muscles strong, fortify your immune system, and trigger the release of endorphins and other hormones to keep yourself content.
Aerobic physical activity is one of the best things you can do to achieve all these objectives and stave off old age, and running is one of the best options for many reasons.
Running is economical. You don’t need to join a gym or hire a personal trainer. You don’t need expensive equipment. You don’t even need fashionable exercise clothing. All you need is a pair of running shoes and you’re good to go.
Running doesn’t have to be competitive. You don’t have to run fast. You don’t have to run without ceasing like a Desert Father Forrest Gump. You just have to put one foot and front of the other and go. However slow you go, it’s still good for you.
You don’t have to be athletically inclined. Not everyone can hit a tennis ball or stay upright on a surfboard, but just about anyone with a working set of legs and a functional lung or two can run. Even if you have bad knees or ankles, you might be able to run safely and comfortably if you wear the proper braces. Of course you should check with your doctor before beginning any new exercise program.
Running is fun. Once you learn how to maintain a comfortable pace so that you don’t get out of breath, you’ll find it positively enjoyable to get outside and move your body.
Running is social. It’s the most popular sport around, and people of all sorts do it. Ask at a local sporting goods store or do a Google search and you’ll find groups of like-minded individuals training for 5K races, running on trails, and jogging around the high school track. It’s a great way to make new friends and to socialize with existing friends in a healthful way. A strong social bond and connection to community are yet more factors in aging well.
Running is healthy. Running helps reduce obesity, cardiovascular disease and several other diseases and conditions and can add years to your life. According to this 15 year study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, runners had a 30% lower rate of mortality overall than non-runners, and a 45% lower rate of mortality due to cardiovascular issues, resulting in three years longer life expectancy. Even those who run just a few minutes a day experience benefits.
And About What You Eat…
In addition to exercise, you need to consider your diet, which may need some modification as you age. Simply put, eating well is living well. No matter what the latest diet fad says, portion control is important, and the best choice of foods is still a diet that’s balanced between fruits, vegetables, grains and proteins. Strive to incorporate a range of fruits and vegetables in your diet. Eat more nuts, legumes, and beans. Sample different types of yogurt and healthy fats like olive oil. These are all feel-good foods that will improve your mental as well as physical well-being.
Eating well and exercising regularly are natural complements. One begets the other. And if you are looking to take up a new-to-you cardio program, running has many advantages.
Want to learn more about staying healthy and aging well? Contact Evolved Medical for a free consultation in San Mateo, Lafayette, Santa Cruz or Monterey.