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Ways You Didn’t Know Your Body Changes After 50

Ways You Didn’t Know Your Body Changes After 50


What you should expect for the years ahead — they could be your best

Jacob Lund/Shutterstock

With age, you gain wisdom, strength and experience. You begin to discover what you find most important and let go of some of the rules that governed your younger days. But along with those immaterial things, your body goes through some changes, as well.

Many of the changes that come with old age you probably already know. Your metabolism slows down, for instance, and you become more susceptible to high blood pressure and heart disease. You know not to overdo it on the salt, and limiting foods that could send your cholesterol flying might already be on your mind. But what other, more subtle changes are about to happen?

Every person experiences aging differently, but there are things happening biologically that cause changes such as wrinkles or graying hair. Other changes are completely invisible, happening in your brain or at a cellular level. As you pass through to the second half of a century, you will likely start to feel different. Here are some of the lesser-known ways your body changes after you turn 50.

Slow collagen production

Ekin Ozbicer/Moment via Getty Images

As you age, your body begins to slow the production of collagen, a protein responsible for keeping your skin firm and elastic. It's no aging myth that lack of collagen is one of the reasons your skin becomes wrinkled as you get older. Some companies have devised collagen supplements, rumored to slow down skin aging. But do these pills and powders really work? The science is still relatively underdeveloped on that front.

Dry skin

Halfpoint Images/Moment via Getty Images

Your skin actually becomes thinner as you get older, becoming drier and more fragile as a result. People who are older can develop skin that breaks more easily, causing cuts and scabs. The good news is that you can counteract skin dehydration fairly simply — for instance, by drinking enough water and eating hydrating foods.

Menopause and andropause

Michael Blann/Stone via Getty Images

Around age 50, women start experiencing menopause. Women’s ovaries begin to produce lower amounts of estrogen and progesterone and higher amounts of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). The symptoms of these hormonal changes vary from person to person, but many women experience side effects such as insomnia, hot flashes, decreased sex drive, depression and mood swings. Some men actually experience hormonal changes as well. According to the Rush University Medical Center, approximately 20% of men over 60 experience andropause, characterized by a decrease in testosterone production. The symptoms include lowered energy levels, depression, decreased muscle strength and decreased sex drive, among others.

Lower bone density

XiXinXing/Shutterstock

This is an especially prevalent risk for women — dips in estrogen can cause a loss of bone density, putting women over 50 at greater risk for osteoporosis. Low bone density is quite common — it affects 44 million Americans, with one out of every two women over the age of 50 likely to break a bone due to osteoporosis, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation. Smoking, inactivity and high alcohol consumption can also adversely affect bone health, but one of the most impactful lifestyle choices that can reduce the risk of osteoporosis is committing to a well-balanced diet. Incorporating certain foods that are rich with the right nutrients can help lower your risk.

Thinning hair

THONGCHAI PITTAYANON/Shutterstock

In addition to turning gray, hair may become thinner and more brittle. Hair pigment cells are not as efficiently produced after you turn 50 as they were when you were younger, and neither is collagen (one of the proteins used to build hair, nail and skin cells). Eat foods with the nutrients your hair needs to stay strong and healthy to delay this effect.

Difficulty sleeping

TheVisualsYouNeed/Shutterstock

Can’t sleep like you used to? Don’t panic, it's not necessarily a sign you have insomnia. According to the National Sleep Foundation, changes in sleep patterns are a totally normal part of the aging process. As you age, you’re likely to sleep less soundly and less consistently. Many older adults report having difficulty falling asleep and waking up multiple times throughout the night.

Slower heart rate

Stuart Jenner/Shutterstock

If you can’t walk up the stairs as easily as you used to, there’s a reason for that. As you age, your maximum heart rate (the fastest speed your heart is able to beat) decreases. Some studies suggest that your normal heart rate decreases, as well, which might play a role in your capacity for aerobic exercise. However, there are many lower-intensity ways to exercise that still have great benefits.

Decreased bladder control

romakoma/Shutterstock

The muscles in your pelvis become weaker as you get older, which may result in urinary incontinence. This is especially common in women and can be socially inhibitive. However, the good news is that there are ways to prevent and treat this condition — talk to your doctor if you experience small bladder leaks as it's a secret to never keep from your doctor.

Shrinking stature

Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

You really do shrink with age, and not just because of your posture. Starting between ages 30 and 40, the disks between the vertebrae of your spine begin to dry and thin out. This results in compression of your spine. It’s really nothing to worry about, though — people typically only lose about half of an inch every decade after 40.

Worsened night vision

Monika Wisniewska/Shutterstock

In addition to needing reading glasses, you may also need more light to see starting sometime after age 40. According to the American Optometric Association, seeing in darkness becomes more difficult with age. Many other eye conditions are also more common in older adults.

Dry eyes

YAKOBCHUK VIACHESLAV/Shutterstock

The tear glands in your eyes produce fewer tears as you get older, according to the American Optometric Association. This can cause itchy, dry eyes for some. Women are especially likely to experience this effect of aging, largely due to hormonal changes.

Limited color perception

wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock

Even if you were never colorblind, you might lose your ability to distinguish between certain hues once you pass 50. According to the American Optometric Association, the clear lens in your eye may begin to discolor, interfering with your perception of colors through the eye.

Different-smelling sweat

sportpoint/Shutterstock

There’s actually some biological reasoning behind that rumored “old people” smell. As you age, your hormonal changes can cause a difference in your sweat composition. Additionally, some studies show that age increases the production of 2-Nonenal, a compound that contributes to body odor.

Diminishing sense of taste

Tom Wang/Shutterstock

According to the National Institute of Aging, your sense of taste might dull over time — but not because of your taste buds. This change is largely due to your sense of smell, which plays a large role in your ability to taste food. Medications can have side effects that interfere with taste, as well. Even more of a reason to enjoy all those guilty pleasure foods to the fullest while you can still taste them.

Weight gain

Rostislav_Sedlacek/Shutterstock

As you age, your metabolism will slow. Lean muscles burn calories even when your body is at rest, but lean muscle mass starts to decrease the older you get. Because of this, your body will begin to store more fat than muscle. You can offset this by continuing aerobic exercises like walking or swimming, as well as lifestyle choices to eat a more balanced diet and ditching certain habits after 40.

Enlarged heart

Elle Aon/Shutterstock

The walls and chambers of your heart might start to thicken and become larger as you age. Although your heart rate gets slower through the years, individual cells in the heart muscle will increase in size, causing the overall size of the heart to enlarge. Along with this slight growth, your arteries might also begin to lose elasticity. Regular exercise and staying active with a busy schedule are great ways to offset the effects of cardiovascular problems.

Decreased memory recall

Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

Some changes in memory are normal as we grow older. You might notice that it is more difficult to recall information that you just learned. Memory functions that won’t change much with age include long-term memory, being able to perform familiar tasks or recalling general knowledge. Just like certain foods can benefit your physical health, some can also help you fight memory loss.

Frequent dental visits

Pressmaster/Shutterstock

After the age of 65, your chances of severe tooth damage or root canal treatment triples, according to Harvard Health. The outer layer of enamel wears away with years of chewing, grinding and gnawing, which leaves your teeth more susceptible to dental issues such as cracks, breaks and infections. To avoid tooth decay, commit to regular dental checkups. There isn’t a set number of visits per year — you should go as often as your dentist sees fit.

Digestive issues

DimaBerlin/Shutterstock

A few factors affect your digestion as you age. Your stomach will produce less acid, which might make it more difficult to stomach certain medications or absorb vitamins. Your esophagus and bowel muscles also might slow down, causing digestion problems like acid reflux and constipation. Luckily there are a few teas that can settle your stomach.

Muscle loss

Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock


3 Ways Running Changes After You Turn 40&mdashAnd 3 Ways It Doesn't

Bobbie Walters was 31 years old when she started running. She was living in Miami at the time and her sister, who lived in Arizona, was about to have a baby. "Our mom called me with the news that my sister was in labor and I was so excited, nervous, and overwhelmed, I didn't know what to do," she says. &ldquoSo I went for a run.&rdquo This was something she literally had never done before.

The next day, Walters had a new nephew&mdashand a new hobby. "I felt so wonderful after that first run, I woke up and ran a few miles the next day," she said. Walters, now 70 and living in Scottsdale, Arizona, has run four miles every morning ever since. And while she says in many ways her runs feel the same as always, there have also been some changes as she ran her way through her 40s, 50s, and 60s.

(The 21-day plan in Love Your Age is the life-changing reset every 40+ woman needs!)

Khaled J. Saleh, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at the Detroit Medical Center, says this is common, and something people shouldn't ignore. "Knowing how your running might change as you get older can help you prevent injury and even maintain peak performance," Saleh says.

Here, Saleh and Walters share some of the ways running changes&mdashas well as how it stays the same&mdashafter 40:

Ligaments and tendons, which help to move and stabilize the joints, shorten and become less flexible with age, Saleh says. And since running can test the limits of their range of motion, you'll likely feel increasingly sore post-run with each passing year.

Walters says she can relate to this increased soreness. While it surprised her at first, it's also taught her to listen to her body. "During my runs, I'll take walking breaks to allow my muscles to rest," she says, which prevents excess soreness and injury. (On days when you're just too sore to jog, try one of these 14 walking workouts to burn fat and boost energy.)

Once you learn good running form, it sticks with you&mdashno matter your age, says Walters. (But just in case, here's how you can make sure your form is in check.) Maintaining a short, quick stride making sure your foot strikes under your knee (not in front of it) keeping your elbows bent at 90 degrees or less relaxing your hands and engaging your core are all elements of proper form that don't suffer with age.

Unfortunately, age isn't on your side when it comes to how fast and long you can run. According to one study in the Journal of Physiology, endurance tends to peak around age 35, slowly decreases until age 60, and then steeply declines after 65. Walters says she sees this affecting her breath control she gets more winded than she used to. "So, I run a little slower," she says. No biggie!

"If done safely and in conjunction with advice from your physician or orthopedic surgeon, running can have many positive effects on the body, particularly as we age," says Saleh. That's because the same health benefits you experienced as a younger runner&mdashthings like improved cardiovascular function, bone strength, mood, energy, weight control, and more&mdashstick around as you get older. In fact, research shows running may even help you prevent age-related mental decline, and other scientific studies show it can even add years to your life.

Walters says that running also inspires her to stick to healthy habits, such as eating well and getting plenty of sleep. "I don't overindulge at dinner because I ask myself, 'How are you going to feel on tomorrow's run?'" she says. "I attribute my good health to running." (Are you making post-exercise eating mistakes? Find out here.)

When Walters was in her 30s, she'd bound out of bed every morning at 5:30 AM to go for her daily runs. These days, she doesn't stick to such a rigid schedule. "As I've gotten older, I notice that some mornings I can still feel my run from the day before," she says. (Sound familiar? Try these 4 solutions for sore, achy muscles.)

Declining muscle strength is likely to blame, Saleh says. "As we approach the age of 30, muscle mass decreases about 1% every year," he says. "As a result, by age 40, we've already lost about 10% of muscle mass," which can lead to muscles feeling tighter after runs. Saleh's recommendation for runners over 40: Incorporate a good strength-training routine into your workouts a few times a week to combat muscle loss, which should help you recover faster and ward off pain. In addition to these 5 essential exercises for runners over 40, try foam rolling. A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that using a foam roller before breaking a sweat might reduce post-exercise fatigue. One to try: TriggerPoint Core Multi-Density Foam Roller (Buy now: $30, amazon.com). It even comes with a complimentary DVD that demonstrates countless exercises.

Most runners will tell you something magical happens once their feet hit the pavement: Worries fade away, and they feel content, no matter what's happening in their lives. Walters can relate. "Running has always helped me forget about all of the stress in my life and focus on the here and now instead," she says. Whether it was the birth of her nephew&mdashthe happy event that prompted her to start running in the first place&mdashor the death of her beloved first husband, Walters says she turned to running as a way to cope with her emotions. "When things were great, I ran. When things were tough, I ran," says Walters. Running has been a constant in her life, which is a big reason why it's something she doesn't see herself ever stopping. "As long as I can run, I'll never give it up."


3 Ways Running Changes After You Turn 40&mdashAnd 3 Ways It Doesn't

Bobbie Walters was 31 years old when she started running. She was living in Miami at the time and her sister, who lived in Arizona, was about to have a baby. "Our mom called me with the news that my sister was in labor and I was so excited, nervous, and overwhelmed, I didn't know what to do," she says. &ldquoSo I went for a run.&rdquo This was something she literally had never done before.

The next day, Walters had a new nephew&mdashand a new hobby. "I felt so wonderful after that first run, I woke up and ran a few miles the next day," she said. Walters, now 70 and living in Scottsdale, Arizona, has run four miles every morning ever since. And while she says in many ways her runs feel the same as always, there have also been some changes as she ran her way through her 40s, 50s, and 60s.

(The 21-day plan in Love Your Age is the life-changing reset every 40+ woman needs!)

Khaled J. Saleh, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at the Detroit Medical Center, says this is common, and something people shouldn't ignore. "Knowing how your running might change as you get older can help you prevent injury and even maintain peak performance," Saleh says.

Here, Saleh and Walters share some of the ways running changes&mdashas well as how it stays the same&mdashafter 40:

Ligaments and tendons, which help to move and stabilize the joints, shorten and become less flexible with age, Saleh says. And since running can test the limits of their range of motion, you'll likely feel increasingly sore post-run with each passing year.

Walters says she can relate to this increased soreness. While it surprised her at first, it's also taught her to listen to her body. "During my runs, I'll take walking breaks to allow my muscles to rest," she says, which prevents excess soreness and injury. (On days when you're just too sore to jog, try one of these 14 walking workouts to burn fat and boost energy.)

Once you learn good running form, it sticks with you&mdashno matter your age, says Walters. (But just in case, here's how you can make sure your form is in check.) Maintaining a short, quick stride making sure your foot strikes under your knee (not in front of it) keeping your elbows bent at 90 degrees or less relaxing your hands and engaging your core are all elements of proper form that don't suffer with age.

Unfortunately, age isn't on your side when it comes to how fast and long you can run. According to one study in the Journal of Physiology, endurance tends to peak around age 35, slowly decreases until age 60, and then steeply declines after 65. Walters says she sees this affecting her breath control she gets more winded than she used to. "So, I run a little slower," she says. No biggie!

"If done safely and in conjunction with advice from your physician or orthopedic surgeon, running can have many positive effects on the body, particularly as we age," says Saleh. That's because the same health benefits you experienced as a younger runner&mdashthings like improved cardiovascular function, bone strength, mood, energy, weight control, and more&mdashstick around as you get older. In fact, research shows running may even help you prevent age-related mental decline, and other scientific studies show it can even add years to your life.

Walters says that running also inspires her to stick to healthy habits, such as eating well and getting plenty of sleep. "I don't overindulge at dinner because I ask myself, 'How are you going to feel on tomorrow's run?'" she says. "I attribute my good health to running." (Are you making post-exercise eating mistakes? Find out here.)

When Walters was in her 30s, she'd bound out of bed every morning at 5:30 AM to go for her daily runs. These days, she doesn't stick to such a rigid schedule. "As I've gotten older, I notice that some mornings I can still feel my run from the day before," she says. (Sound familiar? Try these 4 solutions for sore, achy muscles.)

Declining muscle strength is likely to blame, Saleh says. "As we approach the age of 30, muscle mass decreases about 1% every year," he says. "As a result, by age 40, we've already lost about 10% of muscle mass," which can lead to muscles feeling tighter after runs. Saleh's recommendation for runners over 40: Incorporate a good strength-training routine into your workouts a few times a week to combat muscle loss, which should help you recover faster and ward off pain. In addition to these 5 essential exercises for runners over 40, try foam rolling. A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that using a foam roller before breaking a sweat might reduce post-exercise fatigue. One to try: TriggerPoint Core Multi-Density Foam Roller (Buy now: $30, amazon.com). It even comes with a complimentary DVD that demonstrates countless exercises.

Most runners will tell you something magical happens once their feet hit the pavement: Worries fade away, and they feel content, no matter what's happening in their lives. Walters can relate. "Running has always helped me forget about all of the stress in my life and focus on the here and now instead," she says. Whether it was the birth of her nephew&mdashthe happy event that prompted her to start running in the first place&mdashor the death of her beloved first husband, Walters says she turned to running as a way to cope with her emotions. "When things were great, I ran. When things were tough, I ran," says Walters. Running has been a constant in her life, which is a big reason why it's something she doesn't see herself ever stopping. "As long as I can run, I'll never give it up."


3 Ways Running Changes After You Turn 40&mdashAnd 3 Ways It Doesn't

Bobbie Walters was 31 years old when she started running. She was living in Miami at the time and her sister, who lived in Arizona, was about to have a baby. "Our mom called me with the news that my sister was in labor and I was so excited, nervous, and overwhelmed, I didn't know what to do," she says. &ldquoSo I went for a run.&rdquo This was something she literally had never done before.

The next day, Walters had a new nephew&mdashand a new hobby. "I felt so wonderful after that first run, I woke up and ran a few miles the next day," she said. Walters, now 70 and living in Scottsdale, Arizona, has run four miles every morning ever since. And while she says in many ways her runs feel the same as always, there have also been some changes as she ran her way through her 40s, 50s, and 60s.

(The 21-day plan in Love Your Age is the life-changing reset every 40+ woman needs!)

Khaled J. Saleh, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at the Detroit Medical Center, says this is common, and something people shouldn't ignore. "Knowing how your running might change as you get older can help you prevent injury and even maintain peak performance," Saleh says.

Here, Saleh and Walters share some of the ways running changes&mdashas well as how it stays the same&mdashafter 40:

Ligaments and tendons, which help to move and stabilize the joints, shorten and become less flexible with age, Saleh says. And since running can test the limits of their range of motion, you'll likely feel increasingly sore post-run with each passing year.

Walters says she can relate to this increased soreness. While it surprised her at first, it's also taught her to listen to her body. "During my runs, I'll take walking breaks to allow my muscles to rest," she says, which prevents excess soreness and injury. (On days when you're just too sore to jog, try one of these 14 walking workouts to burn fat and boost energy.)

Once you learn good running form, it sticks with you&mdashno matter your age, says Walters. (But just in case, here's how you can make sure your form is in check.) Maintaining a short, quick stride making sure your foot strikes under your knee (not in front of it) keeping your elbows bent at 90 degrees or less relaxing your hands and engaging your core are all elements of proper form that don't suffer with age.

Unfortunately, age isn't on your side when it comes to how fast and long you can run. According to one study in the Journal of Physiology, endurance tends to peak around age 35, slowly decreases until age 60, and then steeply declines after 65. Walters says she sees this affecting her breath control she gets more winded than she used to. "So, I run a little slower," she says. No biggie!

"If done safely and in conjunction with advice from your physician or orthopedic surgeon, running can have many positive effects on the body, particularly as we age," says Saleh. That's because the same health benefits you experienced as a younger runner&mdashthings like improved cardiovascular function, bone strength, mood, energy, weight control, and more&mdashstick around as you get older. In fact, research shows running may even help you prevent age-related mental decline, and other scientific studies show it can even add years to your life.

Walters says that running also inspires her to stick to healthy habits, such as eating well and getting plenty of sleep. "I don't overindulge at dinner because I ask myself, 'How are you going to feel on tomorrow's run?'" she says. "I attribute my good health to running." (Are you making post-exercise eating mistakes? Find out here.)

When Walters was in her 30s, she'd bound out of bed every morning at 5:30 AM to go for her daily runs. These days, she doesn't stick to such a rigid schedule. "As I've gotten older, I notice that some mornings I can still feel my run from the day before," she says. (Sound familiar? Try these 4 solutions for sore, achy muscles.)

Declining muscle strength is likely to blame, Saleh says. "As we approach the age of 30, muscle mass decreases about 1% every year," he says. "As a result, by age 40, we've already lost about 10% of muscle mass," which can lead to muscles feeling tighter after runs. Saleh's recommendation for runners over 40: Incorporate a good strength-training routine into your workouts a few times a week to combat muscle loss, which should help you recover faster and ward off pain. In addition to these 5 essential exercises for runners over 40, try foam rolling. A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that using a foam roller before breaking a sweat might reduce post-exercise fatigue. One to try: TriggerPoint Core Multi-Density Foam Roller (Buy now: $30, amazon.com). It even comes with a complimentary DVD that demonstrates countless exercises.

Most runners will tell you something magical happens once their feet hit the pavement: Worries fade away, and they feel content, no matter what's happening in their lives. Walters can relate. "Running has always helped me forget about all of the stress in my life and focus on the here and now instead," she says. Whether it was the birth of her nephew&mdashthe happy event that prompted her to start running in the first place&mdashor the death of her beloved first husband, Walters says she turned to running as a way to cope with her emotions. "When things were great, I ran. When things were tough, I ran," says Walters. Running has been a constant in her life, which is a big reason why it's something she doesn't see herself ever stopping. "As long as I can run, I'll never give it up."


3 Ways Running Changes After You Turn 40&mdashAnd 3 Ways It Doesn't

Bobbie Walters was 31 years old when she started running. She was living in Miami at the time and her sister, who lived in Arizona, was about to have a baby. "Our mom called me with the news that my sister was in labor and I was so excited, nervous, and overwhelmed, I didn't know what to do," she says. &ldquoSo I went for a run.&rdquo This was something she literally had never done before.

The next day, Walters had a new nephew&mdashand a new hobby. "I felt so wonderful after that first run, I woke up and ran a few miles the next day," she said. Walters, now 70 and living in Scottsdale, Arizona, has run four miles every morning ever since. And while she says in many ways her runs feel the same as always, there have also been some changes as she ran her way through her 40s, 50s, and 60s.

(The 21-day plan in Love Your Age is the life-changing reset every 40+ woman needs!)

Khaled J. Saleh, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at the Detroit Medical Center, says this is common, and something people shouldn't ignore. "Knowing how your running might change as you get older can help you prevent injury and even maintain peak performance," Saleh says.

Here, Saleh and Walters share some of the ways running changes&mdashas well as how it stays the same&mdashafter 40:

Ligaments and tendons, which help to move and stabilize the joints, shorten and become less flexible with age, Saleh says. And since running can test the limits of their range of motion, you'll likely feel increasingly sore post-run with each passing year.

Walters says she can relate to this increased soreness. While it surprised her at first, it's also taught her to listen to her body. "During my runs, I'll take walking breaks to allow my muscles to rest," she says, which prevents excess soreness and injury. (On days when you're just too sore to jog, try one of these 14 walking workouts to burn fat and boost energy.)

Once you learn good running form, it sticks with you&mdashno matter your age, says Walters. (But just in case, here's how you can make sure your form is in check.) Maintaining a short, quick stride making sure your foot strikes under your knee (not in front of it) keeping your elbows bent at 90 degrees or less relaxing your hands and engaging your core are all elements of proper form that don't suffer with age.

Unfortunately, age isn't on your side when it comes to how fast and long you can run. According to one study in the Journal of Physiology, endurance tends to peak around age 35, slowly decreases until age 60, and then steeply declines after 65. Walters says she sees this affecting her breath control she gets more winded than she used to. "So, I run a little slower," she says. No biggie!

"If done safely and in conjunction with advice from your physician or orthopedic surgeon, running can have many positive effects on the body, particularly as we age," says Saleh. That's because the same health benefits you experienced as a younger runner&mdashthings like improved cardiovascular function, bone strength, mood, energy, weight control, and more&mdashstick around as you get older. In fact, research shows running may even help you prevent age-related mental decline, and other scientific studies show it can even add years to your life.

Walters says that running also inspires her to stick to healthy habits, such as eating well and getting plenty of sleep. "I don't overindulge at dinner because I ask myself, 'How are you going to feel on tomorrow's run?'" she says. "I attribute my good health to running." (Are you making post-exercise eating mistakes? Find out here.)

When Walters was in her 30s, she'd bound out of bed every morning at 5:30 AM to go for her daily runs. These days, she doesn't stick to such a rigid schedule. "As I've gotten older, I notice that some mornings I can still feel my run from the day before," she says. (Sound familiar? Try these 4 solutions for sore, achy muscles.)

Declining muscle strength is likely to blame, Saleh says. "As we approach the age of 30, muscle mass decreases about 1% every year," he says. "As a result, by age 40, we've already lost about 10% of muscle mass," which can lead to muscles feeling tighter after runs. Saleh's recommendation for runners over 40: Incorporate a good strength-training routine into your workouts a few times a week to combat muscle loss, which should help you recover faster and ward off pain. In addition to these 5 essential exercises for runners over 40, try foam rolling. A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that using a foam roller before breaking a sweat might reduce post-exercise fatigue. One to try: TriggerPoint Core Multi-Density Foam Roller (Buy now: $30, amazon.com). It even comes with a complimentary DVD that demonstrates countless exercises.

Most runners will tell you something magical happens once their feet hit the pavement: Worries fade away, and they feel content, no matter what's happening in their lives. Walters can relate. "Running has always helped me forget about all of the stress in my life and focus on the here and now instead," she says. Whether it was the birth of her nephew&mdashthe happy event that prompted her to start running in the first place&mdashor the death of her beloved first husband, Walters says she turned to running as a way to cope with her emotions. "When things were great, I ran. When things were tough, I ran," says Walters. Running has been a constant in her life, which is a big reason why it's something she doesn't see herself ever stopping. "As long as I can run, I'll never give it up."


3 Ways Running Changes After You Turn 40&mdashAnd 3 Ways It Doesn't

Bobbie Walters was 31 years old when she started running. She was living in Miami at the time and her sister, who lived in Arizona, was about to have a baby. "Our mom called me with the news that my sister was in labor and I was so excited, nervous, and overwhelmed, I didn't know what to do," she says. &ldquoSo I went for a run.&rdquo This was something she literally had never done before.

The next day, Walters had a new nephew&mdashand a new hobby. "I felt so wonderful after that first run, I woke up and ran a few miles the next day," she said. Walters, now 70 and living in Scottsdale, Arizona, has run four miles every morning ever since. And while she says in many ways her runs feel the same as always, there have also been some changes as she ran her way through her 40s, 50s, and 60s.

(The 21-day plan in Love Your Age is the life-changing reset every 40+ woman needs!)

Khaled J. Saleh, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at the Detroit Medical Center, says this is common, and something people shouldn't ignore. "Knowing how your running might change as you get older can help you prevent injury and even maintain peak performance," Saleh says.

Here, Saleh and Walters share some of the ways running changes&mdashas well as how it stays the same&mdashafter 40:

Ligaments and tendons, which help to move and stabilize the joints, shorten and become less flexible with age, Saleh says. And since running can test the limits of their range of motion, you'll likely feel increasingly sore post-run with each passing year.

Walters says she can relate to this increased soreness. While it surprised her at first, it's also taught her to listen to her body. "During my runs, I'll take walking breaks to allow my muscles to rest," she says, which prevents excess soreness and injury. (On days when you're just too sore to jog, try one of these 14 walking workouts to burn fat and boost energy.)

Once you learn good running form, it sticks with you&mdashno matter your age, says Walters. (But just in case, here's how you can make sure your form is in check.) Maintaining a short, quick stride making sure your foot strikes under your knee (not in front of it) keeping your elbows bent at 90 degrees or less relaxing your hands and engaging your core are all elements of proper form that don't suffer with age.

Unfortunately, age isn't on your side when it comes to how fast and long you can run. According to one study in the Journal of Physiology, endurance tends to peak around age 35, slowly decreases until age 60, and then steeply declines after 65. Walters says she sees this affecting her breath control she gets more winded than she used to. "So, I run a little slower," she says. No biggie!

"If done safely and in conjunction with advice from your physician or orthopedic surgeon, running can have many positive effects on the body, particularly as we age," says Saleh. That's because the same health benefits you experienced as a younger runner&mdashthings like improved cardiovascular function, bone strength, mood, energy, weight control, and more&mdashstick around as you get older. In fact, research shows running may even help you prevent age-related mental decline, and other scientific studies show it can even add years to your life.

Walters says that running also inspires her to stick to healthy habits, such as eating well and getting plenty of sleep. "I don't overindulge at dinner because I ask myself, 'How are you going to feel on tomorrow's run?'" she says. "I attribute my good health to running." (Are you making post-exercise eating mistakes? Find out here.)

When Walters was in her 30s, she'd bound out of bed every morning at 5:30 AM to go for her daily runs. These days, she doesn't stick to such a rigid schedule. "As I've gotten older, I notice that some mornings I can still feel my run from the day before," she says. (Sound familiar? Try these 4 solutions for sore, achy muscles.)

Declining muscle strength is likely to blame, Saleh says. "As we approach the age of 30, muscle mass decreases about 1% every year," he says. "As a result, by age 40, we've already lost about 10% of muscle mass," which can lead to muscles feeling tighter after runs. Saleh's recommendation for runners over 40: Incorporate a good strength-training routine into your workouts a few times a week to combat muscle loss, which should help you recover faster and ward off pain. In addition to these 5 essential exercises for runners over 40, try foam rolling. A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that using a foam roller before breaking a sweat might reduce post-exercise fatigue. One to try: TriggerPoint Core Multi-Density Foam Roller (Buy now: $30, amazon.com). It even comes with a complimentary DVD that demonstrates countless exercises.

Most runners will tell you something magical happens once their feet hit the pavement: Worries fade away, and they feel content, no matter what's happening in their lives. Walters can relate. "Running has always helped me forget about all of the stress in my life and focus on the here and now instead," she says. Whether it was the birth of her nephew&mdashthe happy event that prompted her to start running in the first place&mdashor the death of her beloved first husband, Walters says she turned to running as a way to cope with her emotions. "When things were great, I ran. When things were tough, I ran," says Walters. Running has been a constant in her life, which is a big reason why it's something she doesn't see herself ever stopping. "As long as I can run, I'll never give it up."


3 Ways Running Changes After You Turn 40&mdashAnd 3 Ways It Doesn't

Bobbie Walters was 31 years old when she started running. She was living in Miami at the time and her sister, who lived in Arizona, was about to have a baby. "Our mom called me with the news that my sister was in labor and I was so excited, nervous, and overwhelmed, I didn't know what to do," she says. &ldquoSo I went for a run.&rdquo This was something she literally had never done before.

The next day, Walters had a new nephew&mdashand a new hobby. "I felt so wonderful after that first run, I woke up and ran a few miles the next day," she said. Walters, now 70 and living in Scottsdale, Arizona, has run four miles every morning ever since. And while she says in many ways her runs feel the same as always, there have also been some changes as she ran her way through her 40s, 50s, and 60s.

(The 21-day plan in Love Your Age is the life-changing reset every 40+ woman needs!)

Khaled J. Saleh, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at the Detroit Medical Center, says this is common, and something people shouldn't ignore. "Knowing how your running might change as you get older can help you prevent injury and even maintain peak performance," Saleh says.

Here, Saleh and Walters share some of the ways running changes&mdashas well as how it stays the same&mdashafter 40:

Ligaments and tendons, which help to move and stabilize the joints, shorten and become less flexible with age, Saleh says. And since running can test the limits of their range of motion, you'll likely feel increasingly sore post-run with each passing year.

Walters says she can relate to this increased soreness. While it surprised her at first, it's also taught her to listen to her body. "During my runs, I'll take walking breaks to allow my muscles to rest," she says, which prevents excess soreness and injury. (On days when you're just too sore to jog, try one of these 14 walking workouts to burn fat and boost energy.)

Once you learn good running form, it sticks with you&mdashno matter your age, says Walters. (But just in case, here's how you can make sure your form is in check.) Maintaining a short, quick stride making sure your foot strikes under your knee (not in front of it) keeping your elbows bent at 90 degrees or less relaxing your hands and engaging your core are all elements of proper form that don't suffer with age.

Unfortunately, age isn't on your side when it comes to how fast and long you can run. According to one study in the Journal of Physiology, endurance tends to peak around age 35, slowly decreases until age 60, and then steeply declines after 65. Walters says she sees this affecting her breath control she gets more winded than she used to. "So, I run a little slower," she says. No biggie!

"If done safely and in conjunction with advice from your physician or orthopedic surgeon, running can have many positive effects on the body, particularly as we age," says Saleh. That's because the same health benefits you experienced as a younger runner&mdashthings like improved cardiovascular function, bone strength, mood, energy, weight control, and more&mdashstick around as you get older. In fact, research shows running may even help you prevent age-related mental decline, and other scientific studies show it can even add years to your life.

Walters says that running also inspires her to stick to healthy habits, such as eating well and getting plenty of sleep. "I don't overindulge at dinner because I ask myself, 'How are you going to feel on tomorrow's run?'" she says. "I attribute my good health to running." (Are you making post-exercise eating mistakes? Find out here.)

When Walters was in her 30s, she'd bound out of bed every morning at 5:30 AM to go for her daily runs. These days, she doesn't stick to such a rigid schedule. "As I've gotten older, I notice that some mornings I can still feel my run from the day before," she says. (Sound familiar? Try these 4 solutions for sore, achy muscles.)

Declining muscle strength is likely to blame, Saleh says. "As we approach the age of 30, muscle mass decreases about 1% every year," he says. "As a result, by age 40, we've already lost about 10% of muscle mass," which can lead to muscles feeling tighter after runs. Saleh's recommendation for runners over 40: Incorporate a good strength-training routine into your workouts a few times a week to combat muscle loss, which should help you recover faster and ward off pain. In addition to these 5 essential exercises for runners over 40, try foam rolling. A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that using a foam roller before breaking a sweat might reduce post-exercise fatigue. One to try: TriggerPoint Core Multi-Density Foam Roller (Buy now: $30, amazon.com). It even comes with a complimentary DVD that demonstrates countless exercises.

Most runners will tell you something magical happens once their feet hit the pavement: Worries fade away, and they feel content, no matter what's happening in their lives. Walters can relate. "Running has always helped me forget about all of the stress in my life and focus on the here and now instead," she says. Whether it was the birth of her nephew&mdashthe happy event that prompted her to start running in the first place&mdashor the death of her beloved first husband, Walters says she turned to running as a way to cope with her emotions. "When things were great, I ran. When things were tough, I ran," says Walters. Running has been a constant in her life, which is a big reason why it's something she doesn't see herself ever stopping. "As long as I can run, I'll never give it up."


3 Ways Running Changes After You Turn 40&mdashAnd 3 Ways It Doesn't

Bobbie Walters was 31 years old when she started running. She was living in Miami at the time and her sister, who lived in Arizona, was about to have a baby. "Our mom called me with the news that my sister was in labor and I was so excited, nervous, and overwhelmed, I didn't know what to do," she says. &ldquoSo I went for a run.&rdquo This was something she literally had never done before.

The next day, Walters had a new nephew&mdashand a new hobby. "I felt so wonderful after that first run, I woke up and ran a few miles the next day," she said. Walters, now 70 and living in Scottsdale, Arizona, has run four miles every morning ever since. And while she says in many ways her runs feel the same as always, there have also been some changes as she ran her way through her 40s, 50s, and 60s.

(The 21-day plan in Love Your Age is the life-changing reset every 40+ woman needs!)

Khaled J. Saleh, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at the Detroit Medical Center, says this is common, and something people shouldn't ignore. "Knowing how your running might change as you get older can help you prevent injury and even maintain peak performance," Saleh says.

Here, Saleh and Walters share some of the ways running changes&mdashas well as how it stays the same&mdashafter 40:

Ligaments and tendons, which help to move and stabilize the joints, shorten and become less flexible with age, Saleh says. And since running can test the limits of their range of motion, you'll likely feel increasingly sore post-run with each passing year.

Walters says she can relate to this increased soreness. While it surprised her at first, it's also taught her to listen to her body. "During my runs, I'll take walking breaks to allow my muscles to rest," she says, which prevents excess soreness and injury. (On days when you're just too sore to jog, try one of these 14 walking workouts to burn fat and boost energy.)

Once you learn good running form, it sticks with you&mdashno matter your age, says Walters. (But just in case, here's how you can make sure your form is in check.) Maintaining a short, quick stride making sure your foot strikes under your knee (not in front of it) keeping your elbows bent at 90 degrees or less relaxing your hands and engaging your core are all elements of proper form that don't suffer with age.

Unfortunately, age isn't on your side when it comes to how fast and long you can run. According to one study in the Journal of Physiology, endurance tends to peak around age 35, slowly decreases until age 60, and then steeply declines after 65. Walters says she sees this affecting her breath control she gets more winded than she used to. "So, I run a little slower," she says. No biggie!

"If done safely and in conjunction with advice from your physician or orthopedic surgeon, running can have many positive effects on the body, particularly as we age," says Saleh. That's because the same health benefits you experienced as a younger runner&mdashthings like improved cardiovascular function, bone strength, mood, energy, weight control, and more&mdashstick around as you get older. In fact, research shows running may even help you prevent age-related mental decline, and other scientific studies show it can even add years to your life.

Walters says that running also inspires her to stick to healthy habits, such as eating well and getting plenty of sleep. "I don't overindulge at dinner because I ask myself, 'How are you going to feel on tomorrow's run?'" she says. "I attribute my good health to running." (Are you making post-exercise eating mistakes? Find out here.)

When Walters was in her 30s, she'd bound out of bed every morning at 5:30 AM to go for her daily runs. These days, she doesn't stick to such a rigid schedule. "As I've gotten older, I notice that some mornings I can still feel my run from the day before," she says. (Sound familiar? Try these 4 solutions for sore, achy muscles.)

Declining muscle strength is likely to blame, Saleh says. "As we approach the age of 30, muscle mass decreases about 1% every year," he says. "As a result, by age 40, we've already lost about 10% of muscle mass," which can lead to muscles feeling tighter after runs. Saleh's recommendation for runners over 40: Incorporate a good strength-training routine into your workouts a few times a week to combat muscle loss, which should help you recover faster and ward off pain. In addition to these 5 essential exercises for runners over 40, try foam rolling. A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that using a foam roller before breaking a sweat might reduce post-exercise fatigue. One to try: TriggerPoint Core Multi-Density Foam Roller (Buy now: $30, amazon.com). It even comes with a complimentary DVD that demonstrates countless exercises.

Most runners will tell you something magical happens once their feet hit the pavement: Worries fade away, and they feel content, no matter what's happening in their lives. Walters can relate. "Running has always helped me forget about all of the stress in my life and focus on the here and now instead," she says. Whether it was the birth of her nephew&mdashthe happy event that prompted her to start running in the first place&mdashor the death of her beloved first husband, Walters says she turned to running as a way to cope with her emotions. "When things were great, I ran. When things were tough, I ran," says Walters. Running has been a constant in her life, which is a big reason why it's something she doesn't see herself ever stopping. "As long as I can run, I'll never give it up."


3 Ways Running Changes After You Turn 40&mdashAnd 3 Ways It Doesn't

Bobbie Walters was 31 years old when she started running. She was living in Miami at the time and her sister, who lived in Arizona, was about to have a baby. "Our mom called me with the news that my sister was in labor and I was so excited, nervous, and overwhelmed, I didn't know what to do," she says. &ldquoSo I went for a run.&rdquo This was something she literally had never done before.

The next day, Walters had a new nephew&mdashand a new hobby. "I felt so wonderful after that first run, I woke up and ran a few miles the next day," she said. Walters, now 70 and living in Scottsdale, Arizona, has run four miles every morning ever since. And while she says in many ways her runs feel the same as always, there have also been some changes as she ran her way through her 40s, 50s, and 60s.

(The 21-day plan in Love Your Age is the life-changing reset every 40+ woman needs!)

Khaled J. Saleh, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at the Detroit Medical Center, says this is common, and something people shouldn't ignore. "Knowing how your running might change as you get older can help you prevent injury and even maintain peak performance," Saleh says.

Here, Saleh and Walters share some of the ways running changes&mdashas well as how it stays the same&mdashafter 40:

Ligaments and tendons, which help to move and stabilize the joints, shorten and become less flexible with age, Saleh says. And since running can test the limits of their range of motion, you'll likely feel increasingly sore post-run with each passing year.

Walters says she can relate to this increased soreness. While it surprised her at first, it's also taught her to listen to her body. "During my runs, I'll take walking breaks to allow my muscles to rest," she says, which prevents excess soreness and injury. (On days when you're just too sore to jog, try one of these 14 walking workouts to burn fat and boost energy.)

Once you learn good running form, it sticks with you&mdashno matter your age, says Walters. (But just in case, here's how you can make sure your form is in check.) Maintaining a short, quick stride making sure your foot strikes under your knee (not in front of it) keeping your elbows bent at 90 degrees or less relaxing your hands and engaging your core are all elements of proper form that don't suffer with age.

Unfortunately, age isn't on your side when it comes to how fast and long you can run. According to one study in the Journal of Physiology, endurance tends to peak around age 35, slowly decreases until age 60, and then steeply declines after 65. Walters says she sees this affecting her breath control she gets more winded than she used to. "So, I run a little slower," she says. No biggie!

"If done safely and in conjunction with advice from your physician or orthopedic surgeon, running can have many positive effects on the body, particularly as we age," says Saleh. That's because the same health benefits you experienced as a younger runner&mdashthings like improved cardiovascular function, bone strength, mood, energy, weight control, and more&mdashstick around as you get older. In fact, research shows running may even help you prevent age-related mental decline, and other scientific studies show it can even add years to your life.

Walters says that running also inspires her to stick to healthy habits, such as eating well and getting plenty of sleep. "I don't overindulge at dinner because I ask myself, 'How are you going to feel on tomorrow's run?'" she says. "I attribute my good health to running." (Are you making post-exercise eating mistakes? Find out here.)

When Walters was in her 30s, she'd bound out of bed every morning at 5:30 AM to go for her daily runs. These days, she doesn't stick to such a rigid schedule. "As I've gotten older, I notice that some mornings I can still feel my run from the day before," she says. (Sound familiar? Try these 4 solutions for sore, achy muscles.)

Declining muscle strength is likely to blame, Saleh says. "As we approach the age of 30, muscle mass decreases about 1% every year," he says. "As a result, by age 40, we've already lost about 10% of muscle mass," which can lead to muscles feeling tighter after runs. Saleh's recommendation for runners over 40: Incorporate a good strength-training routine into your workouts a few times a week to combat muscle loss, which should help you recover faster and ward off pain. In addition to these 5 essential exercises for runners over 40, try foam rolling. A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that using a foam roller before breaking a sweat might reduce post-exercise fatigue. One to try: TriggerPoint Core Multi-Density Foam Roller (Buy now: $30, amazon.com). It even comes with a complimentary DVD that demonstrates countless exercises.

Most runners will tell you something magical happens once their feet hit the pavement: Worries fade away, and they feel content, no matter what's happening in their lives. Walters can relate. "Running has always helped me forget about all of the stress in my life and focus on the here and now instead," she says. Whether it was the birth of her nephew&mdashthe happy event that prompted her to start running in the first place&mdashor the death of her beloved first husband, Walters says she turned to running as a way to cope with her emotions. "When things were great, I ran. When things were tough, I ran," says Walters. Running has been a constant in her life, which is a big reason why it's something she doesn't see herself ever stopping. "As long as I can run, I'll never give it up."


3 Ways Running Changes After You Turn 40&mdashAnd 3 Ways It Doesn't

Bobbie Walters was 31 years old when she started running. She was living in Miami at the time and her sister, who lived in Arizona, was about to have a baby. "Our mom called me with the news that my sister was in labor and I was so excited, nervous, and overwhelmed, I didn't know what to do," she says. &ldquoSo I went for a run.&rdquo This was something she literally had never done before.

The next day, Walters had a new nephew&mdashand a new hobby. "I felt so wonderful after that first run, I woke up and ran a few miles the next day," she said. Walters, now 70 and living in Scottsdale, Arizona, has run four miles every morning ever since. And while she says in many ways her runs feel the same as always, there have also been some changes as she ran her way through her 40s, 50s, and 60s.

(The 21-day plan in Love Your Age is the life-changing reset every 40+ woman needs!)

Khaled J. Saleh, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at the Detroit Medical Center, says this is common, and something people shouldn't ignore. "Knowing how your running might change as you get older can help you prevent injury and even maintain peak performance," Saleh says.

Here, Saleh and Walters share some of the ways running changes&mdashas well as how it stays the same&mdashafter 40:

Ligaments and tendons, which help to move and stabilize the joints, shorten and become less flexible with age, Saleh says. And since running can test the limits of their range of motion, you'll likely feel increasingly sore post-run with each passing year.

Walters says she can relate to this increased soreness. While it surprised her at first, it's also taught her to listen to her body. "During my runs, I'll take walking breaks to allow my muscles to rest," she says, which prevents excess soreness and injury. (On days when you're just too sore to jog, try one of these 14 walking workouts to burn fat and boost energy.)

Once you learn good running form, it sticks with you&mdashno matter your age, says Walters. (But just in case, here's how you can make sure your form is in check.) Maintaining a short, quick stride making sure your foot strikes under your knee (not in front of it) keeping your elbows bent at 90 degrees or less relaxing your hands and engaging your core are all elements of proper form that don't suffer with age.

Unfortunately, age isn't on your side when it comes to how fast and long you can run. According to one study in the Journal of Physiology, endurance tends to peak around age 35, slowly decreases until age 60, and then steeply declines after 65. Walters says she sees this affecting her breath control she gets more winded than she used to. "So, I run a little slower," she says. No biggie!

"If done safely and in conjunction with advice from your physician or orthopedic surgeon, running can have many positive effects on the body, particularly as we age," says Saleh. That's because the same health benefits you experienced as a younger runner&mdashthings like improved cardiovascular function, bone strength, mood, energy, weight control, and more&mdashstick around as you get older. In fact, research shows running may even help you prevent age-related mental decline, and other scientific studies show it can even add years to your life.

Walters says that running also inspires her to stick to healthy habits, such as eating well and getting plenty of sleep. "I don't overindulge at dinner because I ask myself, 'How are you going to feel on tomorrow's run?'" she says. "I attribute my good health to running." (Are you making post-exercise eating mistakes? Find out here.)

When Walters was in her 30s, she'd bound out of bed every morning at 5:30 AM to go for her daily runs. These days, she doesn't stick to such a rigid schedule. "As I've gotten older, I notice that some mornings I can still feel my run from the day before," she says. (Sound familiar? Try these 4 solutions for sore, achy muscles.)

Declining muscle strength is likely to blame, Saleh says. "As we approach the age of 30, muscle mass decreases about 1% every year," he says. "As a result, by age 40, we've already lost about 10% of muscle mass," which can lead to muscles feeling tighter after runs. Saleh's recommendation for runners over 40: Incorporate a good strength-training routine into your workouts a few times a week to combat muscle loss, which should help you recover faster and ward off pain. In addition to these 5 essential exercises for runners over 40, try foam rolling. A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that using a foam roller before breaking a sweat might reduce post-exercise fatigue. One to try: TriggerPoint Core Multi-Density Foam Roller (Buy now: $30, amazon.com). It even comes with a complimentary DVD that demonstrates countless exercises.

Most runners will tell you something magical happens once their feet hit the pavement: Worries fade away, and they feel content, no matter what's happening in their lives. Walters can relate. "Running has always helped me forget about all of the stress in my life and focus on the here and now instead," she says. Whether it was the birth of her nephew&mdashthe happy event that prompted her to start running in the first place&mdashor the death of her beloved first husband, Walters says she turned to running as a way to cope with her emotions. "When things were great, I ran. When things were tough, I ran," says Walters. Running has been a constant in her life, which is a big reason why it's something she doesn't see herself ever stopping. "As long as I can run, I'll never give it up."


3 Ways Running Changes After You Turn 40&mdashAnd 3 Ways It Doesn't

Bobbie Walters was 31 years old when she started running. She was living in Miami at the time and her sister, who lived in Arizona, was about to have a baby. "Our mom called me with the news that my sister was in labor and I was so excited, nervous, and overwhelmed, I didn't know what to do," she says. &ldquoSo I went for a run.&rdquo This was something she literally had never done before.

The next day, Walters had a new nephew&mdashand a new hobby. "I felt so wonderful after that first run, I woke up and ran a few miles the next day," she said. Walters, now 70 and living in Scottsdale, Arizona, has run four miles every morning ever since. And while she says in many ways her runs feel the same as always, there have also been some changes as she ran her way through her 40s, 50s, and 60s.

(The 21-day plan in Love Your Age is the life-changing reset every 40+ woman needs!)

Khaled J. Saleh, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at the Detroit Medical Center, says this is common, and something people shouldn't ignore. "Knowing how your running might change as you get older can help you prevent injury and even maintain peak performance," Saleh says.

Here, Saleh and Walters share some of the ways running changes&mdashas well as how it stays the same&mdashafter 40:

Ligaments and tendons, which help to move and stabilize the joints, shorten and become less flexible with age, Saleh says. And since running can test the limits of their range of motion, you'll likely feel increasingly sore post-run with each passing year.

Walters says she can relate to this increased soreness. While it surprised her at first, it's also taught her to listen to her body. "During my runs, I'll take walking breaks to allow my muscles to rest," she says, which prevents excess soreness and injury. (On days when you're just too sore to jog, try one of these 14 walking workouts to burn fat and boost energy.)

Once you learn good running form, it sticks with you&mdashno matter your age, says Walters. (But just in case, here's how you can make sure your form is in check.) Maintaining a short, quick stride making sure your foot strikes under your knee (not in front of it) keeping your elbows bent at 90 degrees or less relaxing your hands and engaging your core are all elements of proper form that don't suffer with age.

Unfortunately, age isn't on your side when it comes to how fast and long you can run. According to one study in the Journal of Physiology, endurance tends to peak around age 35, slowly decreases until age 60, and then steeply declines after 65. Walters says she sees this affecting her breath control she gets more winded than she used to. "So, I run a little slower," she says. No biggie!

"If done safely and in conjunction with advice from your physician or orthopedic surgeon, running can have many positive effects on the body, particularly as we age," says Saleh. That's because the same health benefits you experienced as a younger runner&mdashthings like improved cardiovascular function, bone strength, mood, energy, weight control, and more&mdashstick around as you get older. In fact, research shows running may even help you prevent age-related mental decline, and other scientific studies show it can even add years to your life.

Walters says that running also inspires her to stick to healthy habits, such as eating well and getting plenty of sleep. "I don't overindulge at dinner because I ask myself, 'How are you going to feel on tomorrow's run?'" she says. "I attribute my good health to running." (Are you making post-exercise eating mistakes? Find out here.)

When Walters was in her 30s, she'd bound out of bed every morning at 5:30 AM to go for her daily runs. These days, she doesn't stick to such a rigid schedule. "As I've gotten older, I notice that some mornings I can still feel my run from the day before," she says. (Sound familiar? Try these 4 solutions for sore, achy muscles.)

Declining muscle strength is likely to blame, Saleh says. "As we approach the age of 30, muscle mass decreases about 1% every year," he says. "As a result, by age 40, we've already lost about 10% of muscle mass," which can lead to muscles feeling tighter after runs. Saleh's recommendation for runners over 40: Incorporate a good strength-training routine into your workouts a few times a week to combat muscle loss, which should help you recover faster and ward off pain. In addition to these 5 essential exercises for runners over 40, try foam rolling. A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that using a foam roller before breaking a sweat might reduce post-exercise fatigue. One to try: TriggerPoint Core Multi-Density Foam Roller (Buy now: $30, amazon.com). It even comes with a complimentary DVD that demonstrates countless exercises.

Most runners will tell you something magical happens once their feet hit the pavement: Worries fade away, and they feel content, no matter what's happening in their lives. Walters can relate. "Running has always helped me forget about all of the stress in my life and focus on the here and now instead," she says. Whether it was the birth of her nephew&mdashthe happy event that prompted her to start running in the first place&mdashor the death of her beloved first husband, Walters says she turned to running as a way to cope with her emotions. "When things were great, I ran. When things were tough, I ran," says Walters. Running has been a constant in her life, which is a big reason why it's something she doesn't see herself ever stopping. "As long as I can run, I'll never give it up."