Making Running Safer for Seniors

By , 9:00 am on

Running is a high-impact activity that burns fat and calories while engaging all of the body’s major muscle groups. It is perfect for respiratory conditioning and strength training, and the opposite arm and leg movements involved can also provide a good workout for the brain. However, to get maximum benefits from this exercise, seniors need to know how to perform it safely. Mississauga home care experts want to share some tips to help your elderly loved one enjoy a safer running experience.

Get Good Running Shoes

Elderly runners need to invest in the proper running shoes for their individual needs and their chosen running surfaces. Your loved one should visit shoe stores with knowledgeable sales associates and an array of running-specific products rather than general shoe outlets. The best running shoes provide excellent shock absorption, good ankle support, and a decent range of motion for the midportion of the foot.

Choose the Right Running Surfaces

Finding a safe location for running is especially important. This helps determine how much shock your loved one’s joints and bones will sustain and the level of air quality. Your loved one should avoid running in areas of high traffic because doing so in a crowded commute district can be hard on the body and the lungs. Suitable running surfaces for seniors can often be found at local high schools or community colleges that make their running facilities available to the public. These tracks have built-in features for shock absorption and, unlike outdoor trails, they do not have trip and fall hazards such as rocks and tree roots.

Avoid Intensive Running

Your loved one should avoid training with a “do or die” attitude, even if he or she has maintained committed and rigorous workout routines throughout the years. Running is a very high-impact activity that places a considerable amount of stress on the joints and bones, even when running in shoes with optimal shock absorption. Your loved one may want to limit running to 2 to 3 times per week while filling out the remainder of the workout plan with low-impact activities such as cycling or swimming. He or she can also burn the same amount of calories by opting to power walk instead, which has much less impact on the joints. If your loved one is new to running, he or she should start slow at first. Walking for several miles at a brisk pace can eventually lead to power walking for several miles. Over time, this can become a moderate jog with small bursts of running. However, your loved one should first consult with a physician before getting started with any new running plan.

Practice Good Nutrition

Staying hydrated is critical for senior runners, as is maintaining a good electrolyte balance. Eating plenty of fresh bananas can help your loved one load up on the potassium and magnesium necessary for preventing leg cramps. Your loved one can also use coconut water to rehydrate after exercising. This all-natural beverage has the perfect balance of electrolytes and is considered one of the healthiest ways to refresh the body after a challenging workout.

For more tips on helping your loved one stay safe when exercising, reach out to Home Care Assistance. We are a leading provider of stroke, Parkinson’s, and dementia care in Mississauga, and our caregivers are available 24/7 to assist with exercise and many other important tasks. To learn more about our in-home care services, call one of our knowledgeable Care Managers at (905) 337-1200 today.