Staying Injury Free
Warm-up and cool-down
As we age, a proper warm-up and cool-down becomes increasingly
important. Since our muscles become brittle and lose their elasticity as we grow older,
the chances of injury increase dramatically. By taking just ten minutes to thoroughly warm-up
your muscles before a workout, you could save yourself from months of time off due to injury.
As we surpass the big 4-0, it’s crucial that we commit ourselves to stretching and
flexibility training. It will help compensate for the natural loss of flexibility and stride
that comes with age. By remaining flexible, you will substantially decrease your chance of
pulling or straining a muscle, which could result in a nagging injury.
For some of us, taking time off from running can be difficult. We depend on running to
retain a certain level of fitness--not to mention sanity! However, taking time off is also
important for performance, as well as avoiding injuries. As we age our bodies take longer to
recover from racing and hard workouts. By allowing your body adequate time to recover, you
will actually receive greater benefits from your workouts. Rather than the hard-rest-hard
routine you were used to in your 20s and 30s, it may be time to switch to a hard-rest-rest or
hard-rest-cross-train regime to reap the full benefits of your hard work and remain injury-free.
Cross-training is a wonderful way for master’s runners to take an extra day of
rest while still enjoying an aerobic workout. Make sure you participate in non weight-bearing
activities such as swimming or biking. Cross-training alleviates the stress running puts on your
body (especially on your knees, shins and hamstrings) while allowing you to maintain your level
Lifting weights is a sure-fire way to help preserve your fitness and injury-free
status. Strength training will increase your muscle strength, muscle mass and bone density, all
of which help to fight injury and maintain fitness.
As we age, it seems as though our bodies begin to betray us. We notice a decline in our performance,
we recover more slowly from our runs, and become more vulnerable to injury. However, by following
these simple tips and accepting the inevitable, we can remain healthy and happy for years to come!