Should Adults Over 40 Run for Weight-Loss?
That’s the short answer that everyone is looking for, so I’ll save you a few minutes of reading and leave it at that. If you’re interested in learning more about why you shouldn’t run for weight-loss continue reading.
Why running is not the best for weight-loss after 40.
I’ll begin by making it very clear, YOU DON’T HAVE TO RUN FOR WEIGHT-LOSS!!!! This is outdated and honestly is bad advice. Now, that’s not to say that it won’t work, it most certainly will, but there’s so many better and easier ways of accomplishing this goal. Things that you can do today that will help you get one step closer to a healthier life.
Your joints won’t appreciate it this modality.
Running is an accumulation of a repetitive movement done in a dynamic manner. If you don’t have proper running mechanics there will be a lot of jarring motion happening in the body that can lead to other issues like shin splits and plantar fasciitis. When the body carries extra weight, it becomes more stressful on your joints. If your joints are already being stressed by the additional weight and you begin to add in hard repetitive motions to them without the proper mechanics, you may end up with injuries that may prolong your goals.
Most people don’t run correctly
I’m no expert in running, but have done a ridiculous amount of continuing education and formal class room education that has covered running mechanics also known as your gait. Gait is referring to how you walk. When I look at gait, I look for the heel striking first, then the forefront of the foot.
Think of the heel as a gentle break and the forefoot as your accelerator. When people run and they don’t have much experience running, they will often have a heavy foot and strike with their heels (breaks) between each stride. This is a problem because your body should be absorbing the foot strike from the forefoot, not the heel. Proper running is the opposite of walking, it’s using the midfoot and forefoot to keep you moving forward. If you are running without proper mechanics you’ll end up with more harm than good.
The cost exceeds the rewards
Ankles, knees, hips, and low back pain have been very common injuries for runners. Other injuries with running could be stress fractures, Achilles tendinopathy, muscle strains, and a bunch of other things that sound scary. But this isn’t to scare you, it’s to help you bring awareness of the costs to become a runner. This isn’t always the case, but I have seen it happen a lot for many years to make my opinion. Running isn’t bad, but it isn’t the best thing in the world for you to do if you want to lose weight.
What you could do instead
Manage your stress
High levels of stress can be a leading contributor to your weight-gain. When your body is feeling stressed it produces a hormone called “cortisol”. The more stress you have the higher your insulin levels will be, which then drops your blood sugar, and we all know about the choices we make when we are low on blood sugar.
Begin to manager your stress with different things like:
- Enjoying good food or friends
- Breathing drills
- Time management
Drink more water
Yes, you probably already know that you don’t drink enough water and there are plenty of reasons why you don’t. Common excuses for not drinking water sound like “I don’t have time”, “I don’t like it”, “I don’t think about it”, “Has no flavor”, “It’s too hard”.
There are plenty of other reasons why you don’t drink water and that’s great, but you can’t get results without hydrating yourself. Most times we eat when we are actually thirsty. I have used a trick of drinking a glass of water before eating something when I’m bored to figure out if it’s actual hunger or just boredom. Most times it’s boredom.
Different ways to get more water in your day:
- Start with small water bottles in the day, aim for 2-6.
- Set reminders on your phone or with sticky notes to drink water.
- Add frozen fruits to get some flavoring.
- Buy a new fancy water bottle to help remind you.
Clean up your nutrition
No, you don’t need the newest fad diet, they don’t work period. They’re difficult and super challenging to understand. They make you feel great at first, but there is a HIGH burnout rate as to why these don’t lead to long term success. Now, you don’t have to do anything crazy when it comes to eating healthier, it’s starting small and building up to something big.
- Eat until you are 80% full.
- Avoid the clean plate club.
- Take slower bites and chew your food.
- Don’t over eat until you feel like shit.
- Plan your meals out weekly.
- Eat out less by cooking at home.
- Add more veggies that you like to your meals.
Start strength training
“But lifting weights will get me big and bulky” SUCH BULLSHIT!!!! If this is your excuse for not lifting then you might as well agree with the world being flat, your soul will be sucked out of you if you have your photo taken, stepping on cracks will break your mothers back, and a bunch of other crazy things that don’t make sense.
Here is the truth, strength training will help you lose body fat, make your muscles more defined, and make a true bad ass. No one regrets being strong, everyone regrets being weak. When you add strength training into your life you will begin to reduce body fat so that your body can make room for lean muscle mass.
Strength training tips
- Hire a coach to show you proper technique.
- Use compound movements like squats, deadlifts, push-ups, lunges, and rows.
- Use weights that challenge you, but don’t defeat you.
- Be patient.
As I mentioned, you don’t need to run to lose weight because the tradeoff is not worth it. There are new and better ways to achieve your goals, stop thinking like a caveman and use the current research that is available to us.
If you would like help with getting your goals accomplished, email us today to schedule a meeting about your goals!