The midlife crisis !! An often dreaded period of time that can make the most strong-willed of us, cringe. For a large number of women who have always kept themselves busy with their career, home and kids; being suddenly faced with the empty nest syndrome, find it difficult to cope and adjust to this change. With peri-menopause kicking in around the same time and the dipping hormones, it adds to the deterioration in both physical and mental health. As if that wasn’t enough, this is also usually the time they begin to experience weight gain, bloating, joint pains, hot flushes and a pre-diabetic condition.
How can we recognize its grip on our lives? What can we do to help ourselves?
Studies indicate that women over 40 have proven to have longer endurance and patience which is the key to being a good runner. So, is running one of the best activities that women over 40 can take up?
Let’s take a look at some benefits it offers:
- Promotes emotional well-being
- Acts as an antidepressant
- Helps to lose weight
- Promotes betterment in lifestyle diseases and seasonal affective disorders.
- Maintains bone and joint health
- Prevents osteoporosis
- Helps to manage symptoms of menopause
- Tones up the muscles and prevents age-related muscle loss
- Helps to increase body image.
Well, the benefits certainly look enticing enough but to extract the maximum benefit, we need to focus on the right training implementation to ensure injury-free running.
So, what does the right training plan look like?
- Slowly build up the aerobic base.
- Run slow and within the aerobic zone.
- Keep the heart rate in check and never exceed the aerobic zone in the routine runs.
- Focus on a walk-run method.
- Sprints and speed intervals have to be added later on in the training.
- Listen to your body. Run at a comfortable pace. If you’re panting then you’re doing it wrong.
- Focus on bodyweight strength training including lunges, squats, single-leg deadlifts.
- Add plyometrics in the form of burpees, single-leg hops, box jumps, frog and gorilla jumps.
- Yoga is a must to increase flexibility and prevent joint pain.
- Focus on the correct posture and keep the cadence high. Try for a midfoot strike.
- Invest in a good sports bra, sports shoes and also good quality socks. Sports watch like Garmin can be also used for accurate heart rate and cadence analysis.
- Understand the difference between pain and soreness. If there is any pain then get sufficient rest and apply ice. Use TheraBand to build up muscle strength.
- Get a good massage once a week.
- Physiotherapist consultations are a must and one should not depend on gym trainers for injury management.
- If suffering from an injury, stay away from too many pain killers, stop running and recover from the pain.
Pointers that can be helpful in losing weight using running as a tool.
- Focus on clean and green eating
- Do not overcompensate your runs with a lot of post-run food.
- Minimize on carbohydrate intake and stick to a low carb diet.
- Add seeds and nuts.
- Take optimal protein intake. You can take whey protein supplements if required especially if you’re a vegetarian.
- Maintain your hydration with electrolyte balance.
- Take good quality fats in the form of ghee and butter.
- Take Calcium, Magnesium, Vitamin D and Omega-3 supplements.
- Do not over train as that will cause a cortisol rise.
- Rest well and recover.
Running is all about being happy and in the zone. It’s about your own meditative space. Never try to force your body into doing something instead ease into it. Run to feel the breeze on your face and to be one with nature. Do not try to keep doing a lot of events and choose your runs wisely and train accordingly.
Patience is the key and if you show patience and respect your body you can keep running all your life.