• You are a woman who is 50 or over and your doctor just suggested you begin a new exercise routine. You might have high blood pressure or need to lose weight. You may have early signs of osteoporosis or perhaps you’ve been feeling depressed.

    Maybe you don’t have any of those conditions, but you believe that starting an exercise program would be a good idea. You are thinking about running and your doctor likes the idea.

    You’ve never understood the allure of it, but you know a few women your age who run, and they seem healthier and happier than most other people you know.

    So how do you get started?

    The first thing you should know is that almost anyone can run. If you are uncertain about that, take a field trip to a local race. Stand on the side of the course and watch the parade of runners. You’ll see the elite pass by first, and then a progression of competitive runners, but if you keep watching, you’ll begin to see the diversity I’m referring to.

    Before the final runner passes, you’ll understand that running isn’t just for those who are gifted. And here’s the most important part—everyone in the race accomplished something significant on their own terms.

    If you decide to begin a running journey, here’s my advice:

    Visit a local running store.

    The first thing you’ll need is a good pair of running shoes. There are a variety of shoe categories, and the right shoe for you will require advice from someone who understands this. Good running shoes are expensive, but you really don’t need to buy anything else to get started.

    Mark your calendar.

    Aside from shoes, the only other investment you need to make is time. Take a look at your normal routine and find what works for you. Keep the commitments you make to yourself.

    Find a safe place.

    Many people can simply step outside the front door and run in their neighborhood. If that won’t work for you, find a place you know is safe and where you’ll feel comfortable. Treadmills work, but most people ultimately enjoy the freedom of running outside.

    Start slowly.

    If you’ve never run before, you should begin by walking. This will make the challenge more bearable, and it will also reduce the risk of injury. Once you’ve formed the habit of walking 30 to 40 minutes at least four times a week for a few weeks, begin adding short running segments. Run slowly for 30 seconds and follow that with two minutes of walking. Continue that routine for the entire 30 to 40 minutes, making sure to keep your effort level consistent. Don’t force the running segments, just try to relax and let it come naturally. As you begin to feel better, gradually lengthen the running segment and shorten the walking segment, with an ultimate goal of being able to run 30 minutes without walking.

    Learn to adapt.

    You’ll encounter all kinds of obstacles. Adjust, but never compromise your commitment. If something keeps you from running today, run tomorrow. Don’t let bad weather stop you. You’ll feel proud of yourself when you face the adversity and overcome it.

    Give yourself credit.

    Don’t wait for significant milestones to celebrate your accomplishments. This isn’t easy, and you should appreciate every bit of progress.

    Invest time in longevity.

    Once you’ve formed a running habit, learn some running specific strength and flexibility routines that will help keep you running.

    Start setting goals.

    After a few months, you’ll begin to realize your own capability. Decide to run your first race or find other ways to challenge yourself. You will have learned that you can overcome obstacles and keep personal commitments, and you’ll find dozens of ways to use your new-found self-confidence.

    Main Image: © Estellerosa | Dreamstime.com – Mature Woman Running On The Beach Photo

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    If you need a little inspiration, try this Superstar Athletes Over 60

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    Article by: Dave Griffin

    Dave Griffin began running in 1976 as a high school freshman. After a 12-year period of casual running when his children were young, he returned to competitive running as a master. Griffin started the Flying Feet Running Programs in 2004 while his daughter, Katie, was running in high school. The program has since grown to provide year-round coaching and support to runners of all experience and talent levels in the Carroll County, MD area. Griffin began writing about running and life in 2006, when his bi-weekly column, Dave Griffin on Running, was introduced. In 2010, Dave published his first book, After the Last PR – The Virtues of Living a Runner’s Life. For more information about his latest book, In The Distance: Why We Struggle Through the Demands of Running, and How it Leads Us to Peace, please visit www.flyingfeetrunning.com, or his Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn pages.

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