Running is one of the best exercises you can do for your overall physical and mental health. It is a fantastic way to stay fit as you get older. 

If you’re over 50, running daily can offer substantial health advantages, including improved cardiovascular fitness, weight management, and overall well-being. However, it’s important to be aware of potential downsides, like the risk of injury and health concerns linked to excessive running. 

In this blog post, we will look at what happens if you run every day at 50, the benefits, the risks, and how to stay healthy while running.

Should a 50-Year-Old Run Everyday?

Running every day after 50 can benefit cardiovascular health and weight management. However, it’s important to be moderate and avoid overuse injuries such as stress fractures, shin splints, and muscle tears. 

When it comes to maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle, it’s important to strike a balance between the benefits of exercise and any potential risks, especially for individuals over 50.

Let’s dive deeper into all aspects of running after the age of 50, including its benefits, potential limitations, and ways to make it fun and sustainable.

Why A 50-Year-Old Should Not Run Daily

While running is great exercise, doing it daily can put significant stress on your joints and muscles, especially as you age. Here’s why:

1. Running can lead to injuries

Running puts a lot of strain on the knees, ankles, and joints, which can lead to various injuries. Research shows that as people age, our body’s ability to recover from injuries decreases. This means running daily can cause more harm than good, especially for people over 50.

Older runners are at a higher risk of suffering from chronic joint pain, shin splints, and other injuries that can lead to long-term health concerns. Instead of running every day, engaging in other low-impact cardio exercises like cycling, swimming, or brisk walking is better.

2. Affects bone density

Running can have a negative impact on bone density, which is essential for maintaining bone strength as we age. Too much running can lead to the loss of bone mass, increasing your risk of bone fractures and osteoporosis. 

A study showed that excessive running leads to lower bone density in runners who run more than 40 miles weekly. With age, our bones become more fragile, and running daily can adversely affect our bone health. 

Thus, engaging in some weight-bearing activities that help maintain bone strength and density, like yoga, strength training, or Pilates is important.

3. It can affect our mental health

Running every day can put you under a lot of stress, and for some 50-year-olds, it can cause more harm than good. When we run, our body releases endorphins, the hormones that help us feel good.

However, running daily for prolonged hours can sometimes lead to burnout and mental exhaustion. Engaging in other meditative activities like yoga or walking outdoors in nature can help reduce stress and improve overall mental well-being.

4. It’s not the only way to keep fit

Running every day is not the only way to keep fit and healthy. Many other low-impact exercises can help you maintain or improve your fitness without putting too much strain on your body or risking injuries. 

You can try swimming, cycling, yoga, strength training, or even a mix of all these activities to give your body more variety. This way, you will still get the health benefits of physical exercise without risking health problems that arise from running every day.

Runners Over 50 Must STOP Doing This (The SECRET to Running FOREVER)

What You Should Do Before You Start Running At The Age Of 50

Assess Your Individual Fitness Level

If you’re planning to start a daily running routine at the age of 50, it’s important to evaluate your current fitness levels beforehand. You need to consider factors such as any existing health conditions, past injuries, and overall fitness to determine whether a daily running routine is suitable for you.

Consultation With A Healthcare Professional

Consult with a healthcare professional or fitness expert prior to running to ensure it is appropriate given any pre-existing medical conditions or potential risks.

Warm-up And Cool-down

It is crucial to follow proper warm-up and cool-down routines to prevent injuries and improve flexibility, especially as the body ages.

Choose Appropriate Footwear

Invest in high-quality running shoes that provide proper support and cushioning, taking into consideration any foot or gait issues.

Listen to Your Body

Pay attention to any discomfort or pain during and after running. Adjust the routine accordingly and consider rest days to allow for recovery.

Nutrition and Hydration

To maintain good health and energy levels, it is important to have a balanced diet and stay well-hydrated. Consuming a variety of foods from all food groups can help you get the nutrients your body needs while drinking enough water can keep you hydrated and help your body function properly.

A balanced diet and adequate hydration can also help prevent health issues such as fatigue, headaches, and constipation.

Rest and Recovery

It is important to make sure that you allocate enough time for rest and recovery to avoid experiencing burnout and to maintain good overall well-being. 

By taking breaks and giving your mind and body time to recuperate, you can improve your productivity, reduce stress levels, and keep yourself in good physical and mental health.

Regular Health Check-ups

It is highly recommended to schedule regular health check-ups to keep track of any changes in your health status. This helps in adjusting your running routine accordingly to avoid any potential health risks. 

It is important to prioritize your health and take necessary measures to ensure a healthy and active lifestyle.

What Are The Benefits Of Running At 50

  • Prevention of illnesses and diseases
  • Minimize the symptoms of chronic diseases
  • Boost brain and emotional health
  • Improve the quality of sleep
  • Maintain a healthy weight range
  • Long life 

Prevent Illnesses And Diseases

Exercise is a fantastic way to boost your heart health and enhance blood circulation. This increased blood flow elevates oxygen levels in your body, reducing the risk of heart-related issues like high cholesterol, coronary artery disease, and heart attacks. 

It’s also effective in managing blood pressure and lowering triglyceride levels. Making exercise a regular part of your routine contributes significantly to maintaining a healthy heart.

Minimize The Symptoms Of Chronic Diseases

Running has a multitude of benefits for your overall health. It enhances hormone regulation, mitigates stress and inflammation, and lowers the risk of chronic diseases. By addressing risk factors associated with conditions like cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and cancer, running contributes to overall health improvement. 

Additionally, it supports joint mobility, making it beneficial for managing conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. Moreover, running can help slow the progression of chronic conditions like type 2 diabetes, offering a holistic approach to health and well-being.

Boost Brain And Emotional Health

Running serves as a powerful mood enhancer by stimulating the release of endorphins and serotonin, effectively reducing stress levels. Beyond its positive impact on mental health, running has calming effects on the mind, alleviating feelings of anxiety and depression. 

Engaging in regular running has cognitive benefits, enhancing working memory, focus, and task-switching ability, ultimately contributing to improved cognitive function. Furthermore, running plays a crucial role in stress reduction by aiding the body’s ability to cope with mental tension and fostering overall well-being.

Improves Quality Of Sleep

Regular exercise, including running, facilitates quicker sleep onset and enhances overall sleep quality. Running contributes to regulating the sleep-wake cycle, optimizing the body’s ability to transition between periods of wakefulness and sleep naturally. 

Additionally, running aids in stress and anxiety reduction through the release of endorphins, promoting a calmer mental state conducive to improved sleep.

Physical activities like running not only encourage deeper sleep for better recovery but also bring mood-boosting effects, alleviating symptoms of depression and contributing to enhanced emotional well-being.

Maintain A Healthy Weight Range

Running is a great exercise that can help you lose or maintain weight, burn calories, and work multiple muscle groups. By combining running with a balanced diet, you can maintain your weight or lose weight. Running helps increase your total energy expenditure, which can help you balance or lose weight, as long as you control your caloric intake. 

Additionally, running can strengthen your muscles and contribute to your overall fitness and weight maintenance.

Helps You Live Longer

Running has a variety of health benefits that can promote longevity. It has been shown to impact cardiovascular health positively, offer anti-aging benefits, and correlate with increased life expectancy. Runners are also at a much lower risk of cancer and heart disease than non-runners. 

Those who run regularly have a 30% to 50% reduced risk of cancer-related mortality and a 45% to 70% lower risk of death related to cardiovascular disease (CVD).

 Related: The EASIEST Way To Start Running When You’re 50 & Overweight

What Kind Of Exercises Can I Do In My 50s

For Aerobic Activity

Aerobic exercises, also known as cardio exercises, are activities that increase your heart rate and breathing. They help your body circulate oxygen more efficiently, and improve your cardiovascular health, stamina, and overall fitness. 

Aerobics can help you improve your lung capacity, reduce the risk of chronic diseases, and manage your weight.

Examples include running or jogging, cycling, swimming, jumping rope, and dancing.

Weight Training

Weight training also referred to as resistance or strength training, is a type of workout that entails the use of external resistance to produce muscle contraction, leading to the development of strength, endurance, and muscle size. 

This type of training usually involves weights such as dumbbells, barbells, resistance bands, or machines that provide resistance against the force generated by muscles.

Weight training offers benefits like improved metabolism, bone density, and muscular strength. Safety is crucial, and beginners are advised to seek guidance from fitness professionals.


Stretching is deliberately lengthening or extending your muscles, and it offers several benefits such as increased flexibility, improved range of motion, and injury prevention. 

There are various types of stretching, each with specific purposes:

  1. Static Stretching: Hold a stretch for 15-60 seconds to boost flexibility.
  2. Dynamic Stretching: Perform controlled movements to enhance blood flow and range of motion.
  3. Ballistic Stretching: Use bouncing or jerking motions to extend muscles, but caution is necessary.
  4. PNF (Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation) Stretching: Combine stretching and muscle contraction, often done with a partner.
  5. Active Stretching: Contract one muscle group while stretching the opposite.
  6. Passive Stretching: Use external forces to apply the stretch.

Incorporating these stretching techniques into a well-rounded exercise routine can enhance overall fitness and reduce the risk of injuries.

Exercises To Avoid At Age 50 And Beyond

It’s essential to note that there are no strict restrictions for activities for those over 50, as individual fitness levels and health conditions vary. However, it’s advisable to be cautious with the following exercises:

1. Overhead Presses: Lifting weights straight over your head may strain the shoulders and pose injury risks.

2. Barbell Deadlifts, Back Squats, and Bench Press: These barbell exercises can be challenging on the body after 50, potentially leading to strain or injury.

3. Leg Extension Machine: The leg extension machine may not be suitable, especially for individuals over 50.

4. Behind-the-Neck Pull Exercises and Burpees: Modify or avoid these exercises to prevent injuries after the age of 50.

5. Cardio Overtraining: While cardio is beneficial, overtraining may strain the heart muscles, especially with age.

6. Heavy Weight Lifting: Lifting excessively heavy weights may increase the risk of injury, so it’s advisable to modify the intensity.

7. Dumbbell Arnold Press and Sprints: These exercises can be challenging on the body after 50 and may lead to strain or injury.

Running every day at the age of 50 can be an effective way to stay physically and mentally fit. It’s never too late to start a running routine, and there are plenty of benefits to gain. 

Running helps reduce the risk of heart disease, osteoporosis, muscle loss, and cognitive decline. It also helps maintain a healthy weight and improve mental health. So go on, lace up your shoes, and hit the road – your future self will thank you.


With a passion for high performance sport – Lindsey Parry is one of South Africa’s most widely recognised coaches. Having led a team to the London, Rio and Tokyo Olympic Games as well as the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, the Gold Coast & Birmingham, and coached both triathletes and runners onto podiums of some of the world’s most illustrious races, Lindsey has a unique ability to understand what it takes to succeed at any level and thrives on coaching, motivating and inspiring others to do the same – whether it’s on the track, on stage or behind a mic.

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