Do you feel your age? Regular exercisers over 30 are likely to say ‘yes’, most saying they feel younger and many arguing they feel better than they did over a decade ago.
The reason is that your ‘fit age’ also known as your ‘biological age’ is different to the age determined by your date of birth. Generally speaking the fitter a person is, the lower their fit age is.
If you’re someone who does feel their actual age – or perhaps even older – the good news is that exercise can help and running in particular will lower your biological age. Regular running increases stamina, reduces body fat AND produces endorphins – all of which factor in fit age calculations.
The great thing about running is you can do it anywhere, any time. As long as you invest in good trainers and your clothes are comfy you can start TODAY. A jog on the treadmill, a quick run around the block is all it takes.
Little and often
Don’t worry about a marathon until you can manage a mile. Begin with a quick jog using a route near your home or jumping on a treadmill two or three times a week. At least manage 10 minutes but if you’re fitter devote 30 to your first steps to a more youthful body and mind
You’ll be amazed how quickly the body adapts and improves and within a month of twice-weekly excursions you should be able to go further and faster so add on extra minutes or metres on a monthly basis
Whether you’re on a treadmill or in a park varying the speed and incline are fantastic ways to add challenges without eating into time.
Many treadmills have preset programs for this so take advantage of what the experts have programmed to challenge yourself.
If you’re in the great outdoors adopt a fartlek approach by varying your pace between certain points like sprinting to a bench, power walking to a tree and then jogging to the lamppost.
Find a Park Run
Park Runs are fabulous free events throughout the country and great to keep your motivation up. They can also introduce you to new people and new routes.
The chances are you won’t be the fastest or the slowest there which is great for your motivation – you’ll be reassured you’re faster than some and inspired to be as fast as the others.
Add weight to burn more calories
In addition to varying speed and incline if time is short another factor you can alter is resistance. When Oprah Winfrey dramatically lost weight she did so by taking 10,000 steps a day – but once she was smaller the weight crept back on because she continued to take 10,000 steps a day. The reason was her body weight in the initial stages acted as resistance so the steps in the early stages required more calories.
Adding a weight belt will work wonders when you run by making the body work harder when you run. Most have adjustable weights so you can gradually build the resistance and the calories you consume.
Keep strong to keep on running
Running in itself is a great all-round exercise but the motions of the body are repetitive and resistance – even with a weight belt restricted.
It’s a great idea to enhance your running with weight training and core training as this will protect the back and sustain your posture as you run. Swiss balls are great tools to back and belly exercises, while a barbell is ideal for the squats and lunges that will ensure your glutes are strong enough to go the distance.