How to take care of your body after a life of competitive running / athletics

As a competitive runner, there are few things that command as much of your time and energy as training. Deciding which races to run, coordinating travel, and planning your training routine are an integral and exciting part of the life of an athlete. When it comes to recovery and taking care of your body, however, age plays a role. A lifetime of competitive running has great benefits for your body, but once you hit 40, the body begins to respond differently. How you care for your body during this stage of life is as important as your training routine.

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Recovery Begins Before Your Next Run

A thorough warmup is more important than ever. The risk of injury and overtraining increases, which translates to less time to train. While we all understand the basics of training, a habit of scrimping on a warmup is a mistake, particularly for pro athletes 40 and above. Warming up not only prepares your body for the training session, it will minimize the damage to your muscles which ultimately means a faster recovery. When you exercise, your muscles go through extreme stress, with an increased flow of nutrients to the muscles for growth. Muscle growth and strength cannot occur without proper rest and the right recovery nutrients – the body will simply become tired and worn. Specific after-workout steps will help you gain more out of every workout, particularly if you have been a competitive athlete throughout your lifetime.

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Quality over Quantity

A shift in your mindset can work wonders for a training schedule. Rather than simply looking to hit a specific number of miles each week, begin a run with purpose in mind. You may decide to do a run with HIIT, a long run, a slow run, or one to keep tempo. No matter the goal, always run with a purpose – and ensure your body is replenished with the right nutrients, at the right times, following your run or training session.

The Importance of the Cool Down

Once you reach 40, your body starts to go through changes. Its ability to repair itself slightly declines, with a gradual loss of muscle and connective tissue. The muscles start to lose some elasticity. Tight muscles can mean a shorter stride with an increased susceptibility to injury. Including an extra, off-the-clock mile or two followed by stretching will allow you to keep up your training and reduce the risk of injury, while keeping your muscles healthy. Stretching thoroughly after each run will not only minimize post-workout pain but help maintain a higher level of muscle strength and flexibility for the long term.

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As a runner, you understand the importance of nutrition as a part a training routine.

Nutrition for Recovery

As a runner, you understand the importance of nutrition as a part a training routine. The days when you could just grab and consume whatever was convenient are pretty much over. Planning your post-workout nutrition will ensure your body gets the fuel it needs for a faster, healthier recovery. The optimal time to refuel your body after a good run or workout is within 30 minutes, and again two hours later. A combination of protein and carbohydrates – heavy on the carbs – will give your body what it needs to repair, restore energy, and build muscle strength to help you avoid fatigue.

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Athletes and coaches alike all agree on one thing: there’s nothing that will aid your recovery efforts more than healthy sleep. When training for a big race, rest becomes even more important to strength and endurance. You should be getting between ten and twelve hours of sleep each night. While this might seem excessive, your body is doing bulk of its recovery during sleep. As you move out of the thirties and into the forties, you may find it is more difficult to get to sleep. Going to bed and getting up at the same time each day will train your body to a standard routine that can significantly boost your energy and endurance for an upcoming race.

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Planned Time Off

Pro athletes know that time off is part of a healthy, long career. After the laser-like focus required to train for elite races, both your body and your brain are ready for a break. Most runners agree that planning to take time off is a far better than being forced to take a break to recover from an injury or exhaustion. Listen to your body and your intuition. It will tell you when you need to take a day, week, or even a month off. When you return, you’ll be well-rested and ready to tackle your next race with confidence.

Dr. Casey Crisp serves as the Director of Clinical Quality Assurance at Airrosti, a nationwide health care organization specializing in musculoskeletal pain injury treatment. His primary role is educating and developing new doctors and managing clinical teams to meet clinical requirements in documentation, clinical assessment, and quality care assurance. He currently serves as the lead instructor for the CEU (Continuing Education Unit) program for Doctors of Chiropractic.

Hot Peppers Health Benefits

Chili pepper is loaded with a broad range of nutritional properties, which makes it immensely healthy for the human body. A diet rich in chili pepper can effectively control many body ailments. Chili peppers have been around for ages. For instance, it is amazing to know that in US, chili pepper has been a part of diet ever since 7500 BC. However, but it is only now that their health benefits are being increasingly recognized by the modern diet experts. The positive impact of chili peppers on your health has been listed below in detail. Read the article to know the many benefits of consuming chili pepper.

Health Benefits Of Eating Chili Peppers 

  • Studies have established that chili peppers have pain-relieving properties. Their consumption provides relief from migraine and sinus headaches. Chili pepper contains a chemical substance called Capsaicin, which controls pain transmission to the brain.
  • Capsaicin, present in chili pepper, assists in combating nasal congestion, by stimulating secretions that help clear mucus from your throat. The antibacterial properties of chili pepper help fight chronic sinus infections.
  • According to some studies, the capsaicin in chili pepper helps in killing prostate cancer cells. Their pungent heat also obstructs the spread of prostate cancer cells.
  • Chili pepper contains high quantities of Vitamin A, C, and also bioflavinoids. These nutrients work together to strengthen blood vessels, making them more elastic and enhancing their ability to adjust to blood pressure fluctuations.
  • Chili peppers, being naturally hot, make us sweat, which results in fluid loss from the body. This helps in reducing the overall blood volume, though temporarily. As such, potential blood clotting incidents are significantly reduced.
  • Chili pepper acts as a potent anti-inflammatory agent. It inhibits those substances in the body that are associated with inflammatory processes. Studies expect that capsaicin may well become a treatment for arthritis, psoriasis and diabetic neuropathy one day.
  • A study conducted by the Duke University (Durham, North Carolina) puts forward that chili pepper may be effective against inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It can help in killing bacteria such as H. pylori and thereby, assist in preventing stomach ulcers.
  • Chili peppers have also been associated with fat-burning properties. Thermogenics like capsaicin pump up the metabolism of the body and stimulate its ability to burn fat by generating heat.
  • It is a little surprising to know that a typical chili pepper contains more vitamin C than an orange. Also, the high content of beta carotene in chili pepper makes it anti-infectious. These nutrients are essential for the health of mucus membranes lining the nasal passages, lungs, intestinal tract and urinary tract. This helps in building body’s defense against pathogens.
  • Eating chili peppers can reduce risks of hyperinsulinemia (high insulin), a disorder identified with type 2 diabetes. Researches have shown that a meal containing chili pepper reduces the amount of insulin required by the body to lower blood sugar levels. Regular consumption can bring the insulin requirements further down.


  • The capsaicin in chili peppers can irritate or cause burning sensation in your eyes or hands.
  • Chili oil can be sticky and therefore, it is important to be cautious about touching your eyes after handling the peppers.

Cooking Tips 

  • Wear gloves while cutting chili peppers. Naked hands, when touched to the skin after handling chili peppers, can cause burning sensation.
  • Chili peppers can be added while the food is being cooked. In countries like India, people eat chili pepper raw and uncooked as well.
  • Chili pepper can also be used in a variety of dishes, for the purpose of garnishing.

Running with Illness

I am no medical doctor so my opinions are just that, with no real science behind these beliefs. I never get full blown colds, viruses, nor flus. I do get the symptoms of illness from time to time. I have written on this subject and so as not to be too repetitive, let’s just say I veer away from conventional wisdom. I never have been bed ridden for a day or two for 3 decades now, nor do i stop my running routine when i feel the symptoms of colds, flu or viruses coming on. What i do though is cut back my routine if needed, but illness in my non-medical opinion is all tied to the immune system. Fresh chili pepper works for me in my opinion as an antiseptic but it is much more than that in regards to diet, which is not a rigid one. But the discipline of running is essential . When getting congestion, running brings up the mucus and with a spit or two or more, it starts the process of ridding the stuff. This is not magic and it takes time. The more exposure to the imperfect world of germs and other impurities, the more one’s system learns to ward off disease, in my belief. I am not suggesting to drink contaminated water, I am just stating the obvious. When people get flu shots, they are injected with the flu themselves, need I say more. So build up your immune system and experiment. Many times I do the opposite, like running a little more when having a stuffy nose just to spit more mucus. So see what works for you, but I believe the immune system is the key and this is far from conventional wisdom of rest and medicine and the all dreaded antibiotics.

On to the subject of running with more serious illness: Of course you need to go the conventional route and if not, the homeopathic route if that’s your belief, but this is not my area of expertise as I have been lucky and have not been through such an unfortunate ordeal. So if you have vertigo or heart problems or had cancer etc etc, see what a progressive doctor can recommend. Maybe it will be more contrived by your doc to see what happens on a treadmill or a prescribed method of pulse taking after a well laid out run. But i do know this. I know a very good runner with a pacemaker who runs daily. I know bi-pass recoveries and seem not to affect their running in most cases after the initial recovery. Again to repeat, I do not say this as an expert, but I have witnessed folks who have run after serious illnesses, and in some cases got rid of their illness one hundred percent. I assume every serious disease requires intense medical evaluation but i ask the following:

Would you rather lay around in convalescence or take the chance of having a feeling of fighting and building back your immunities even with only half a mile a day? This is way too individualized to give pointed advice in my personal opinion, but it is surely something to reflect on.

So stay well and look at things from a different perspective. Maybe you can fight the less serious illness, or even the life threatening ones, running through more serious illness by helping your body fight back.