At any age, running is a health benefit cornucopia, but for men over 40, the upside of running is even more beneficial to both the men running, and the people around them. If it’s a new hobby, it can be difficult to start, but once in a routine, running can change your life for the better, extend it, and help bolster some traits that may have been slipping away with age.
Running Can Be The Doorway to Better Health Education
Runners will attest that in as little as a week with regular running habits that they just started to “feel more healthy.” Obviously there isn’t much scientific credibility in someone simply saying they feel healthier, but digging deeper into why the feelings are occurring can raise your health literacy and that can ultimately be a secondary benefit of running.
Health literacy is defined by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as “the degree to which individuals… understand basic health information,” or in other words, being able to understand the “why” behind the “feeling better” following a run. Learning these “Whys” leads to discovering other good habits that will lead to even better feelings, this time ones that are able to be explained and shared.
Older Runners Can Be a Role Model for Younger Children
Whether it be your own children, or other kids who look up to you, running shows them your willpower to better yourself and stay healthy. Just as it does in adults, physical activity and aerobic exercise pay countless dividends in children, primarily in the prevention of childhood obesity.
According to the National Survey of Children’s Health, conducted in 2017, more than 15% of children aged 10 to 17 suffered from childhood obesity in the United States. The World Health Organization recommends that parents who start exercising with their children as early as 2 years old can lower the chances of heart disease, diabetes, and all of the health issues that come with obesity. Combating childhood obesity is as easy as being a good role model and encouraging healthy habits, so whether you’re a father, an uncle, a teacher, or a neighbor, don’t hesitate to make sure the youth in your life know about your new workout habit, and even invite them along for a jog!
Running Can Be a Great Way of Staying Competitive & Goal Driven
At some point, it’s just too hard on our bodies to continue participating in contact sports. Even some professional athletes hang up the cleats before their 30th birthdays, but that doesn’t mean they’re hanging up their competitive edge, or a will to achieve physical goals. Just as in the workplace, setting goals for yourself in the running world is a great way to stay competitive, even if the competition is the man in the mirror.
Verywellfit recommends starting your goals very, very low, especially if you haven’t run in decades. There is no shame in setting a goal to run around the block, but there is still reward in achieving that goal. Just as a child grows fast at the beginning of life, your goals will be able to increase exponentially as long as you get out there and go for them.
I Didn’t Run When I Was Younger…Can Running Still Lower Your Risk of Major Health Problems?
Not only can running lower your risk of major health problems, but it does. Many times over. But don’t throw in the towel before you start running, just because you haven’t done so since high school phys ed. In a study conducted by the National Cancer institute, active adults between ages of 50-71 who had exercised their whole lives had similar (and much lower than their non-active counterparts) mortality risks than those active adults between ages of 50-71 who didn’t start exercising until they were in their 40s. As a bonus to the folks who may not have been physically active in their early parts of life, you have all that muscle saved up! Elite athletes tend to decline around age 35, but those who simply run every now and then don’t see a decline until after 50.
So there you have it… no excuses to stay on the couch during quarantine and beyond! It will not only help your health, but it can motivate those around you to improve their own, and will extend your life so your loved ones can keep getting joy from you and your lean bod!