Re-conditioning the Old Runner

I am 40 years old and used to run a lot in high school and college. After college, working on my career and family life, I got side tracked and exercise fell off the band wagon. I am trying to get back in shape by running, but every time I run, I am extremely exhausted and sore for 3-4 days afterwards. Do you have any suggestions? Bob.

I can sympathize with you Bob, I was a cross country and track runner myself during high school and college, and if we don’t keep up with running, it takes an enormous amount of effort to get back to it. Lets consider a few things. In our high school and college years, there wasn’t a lot of talk about the danger of the impact of running. We have seen the orthopedic effects on knees, ankles and the spine throughout the years. Impact sports such as running, can take a toll on our joints throughout the years, and when we are de-conditioned, and have been sedentary for a decade or so, our mind may remember how we ran 5 miles in the years past with little thought of it, but with impact sports such as running, doing it for 5 minutes is a foreign activity to our unconditioned joints, and our muscles will usually scream at us. A few tips a person could use for re-conditioning back into an impact sport are as follows:

1. Vary the aerobic activity.
2. Condition at target heart rate, not above or below
3. Start at 3 days per week and take a day off if overly fatigued or sore
4. Start with realistic goals. Better to set goals low and achieve them, than too high.
5. Perform proper warm up’s and cool downs.
6. Don’t ignore injuries like we did in high school. Our body is different in our forties than it was in our teen years.
7. Perform the activity slow and remember you are waking up muscles, joints and tendons that have be dormant for years.

Keeping these points in mind can help you gain the active lifestyle that you desire. One of the specialties in our office is exercise rehabilitation. We often work to help competitive and weekend warier athletes in achieving their athletic aspirations. If you feel that you get to an impasse with conditioning and or muscular or joint injuries, feel free to give our office a call, and we would be glad to partner with you to help achieve your athletic goals.

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