Running for Beginners - Running Tips for Women over 40
Running is one of the best types of aerobic exercise and is a great way to build up fitness in midlife.
There are lots of running health benefits and no matter what your age, size or shape you should be able to run. If you haven't got up speed for a while - maybe quite a while - follow these tips for beginners.
Running for beginners: Getting started
It's always wise to get your doctor's okay before you start on any new exercise regime, especially if you haven't done any strenuous exercise for a long time. Checking with your physician is a must if you have any existing health problems that might be affected by exercise.
You've got the go ahead, but what's the best way to build running into your life? The best approach is simply to start running regularly and get into a routine.
Before you take a single step, get yourself some suitable running shoes. Proper footwear is essential and can help you run better and prevent injury. You'll also need a good running bra.
If you're a complete novice, start off by alternating walking with running in your exercise session. Gradually built the amount of time you spend running, until you can keep going for 20-30 minutes at a steady pace. Then you can try speeding up, and experiment with different terrains.
Running for beginners: How to run correctly
Always do warm up and cool down exercises before and after running.
Relax your shoulders, don't let them become tense and hunched.
Swing your arms back and forth like pendulums, and keep hands lightly curled into a fist, not clenched.
Hold yourself tall from the pelvis and keep your upper body straight, without twisting.
Keep your tummy pulled in, but not too tightly.
Look ahead rather than down.
Beware of making your stride too long. Concentrate on moving forward.
Running for beginners: Building your stamina
As you become more experienced, make one of your weekly runs 5-10 minutes longer, keeping an easy pace.
Add some faster sections to one of your regular runs.
If you're running to lose weight, you'll need to develop a routine of running regularly 4-5 times a week.
Try running on different surfaces to add variety to your routine and work different muscles.
Aim not to get too out of breath. It's good to run with a partner - if you can still talk as you run, you're using about the right amount of energy.>
Try to establish a comfortable rhythm as you run.
Find the best time of day that suits your internal clock. First thing in the morning is good for some people, while others prefer to run in the afternoon or early evening.
It's a great idea to add some strength training exercises to your weekly exercise to help build core strength. You can also run carrying weights (these can be water bottles), or wearing ankle or wrist weights.
Always pay attention to how your body's feeling. If you're tired, don't push yourself too hard.
Running is a wonderful way to socialise and meet new people. Try joining a running club, or entering for a charity run. In the UK, the annual Race for Life is a women-only event where you can run and raise money for charity at the same time.
It's good to have a goal to aim for, so consider entering a race. If you do this, you'll need to sort out a training regime that's suited to the particular kind of event you've chosen.
Running for beginners could be just the start of a powerful new way to build fitness. Many women suprise themselves by getting a real kick out of running once they've caught the bug.
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Before You Exercise...
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Listen to your body
"As I've got older I've learned that if it's not feeling quite right, it's not worth killing yourself to get a session done.
If I get to the middle of my trainign week and feel very tired, I might do an easy run instead of a proper workout. You have to listen to your body.
Paula Radcliffe, British marathon runner
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