I will never forget the feeling of weight lifting and playing sports when I was in my twenties. Nothing hurt; I could go all out without any concern of hurting myself. When I see these young kids in the gym training or when watching sports on TV, it’s disconcerting to me how age can take that athleticism away from you. I’m in my late 40’s now and devoted my life to the pursuit of fitness and a healthy life style. Even though I did most things right when it came to training and conditioning, I can’t escape from the fact that I’m getting older. I love seeing an older athlete, like Brett Favre, still playing at such a high level but to be honest I have no idea how he is doing it. I’ve been studying exercise physiology and biomechanics for over 25 years and it seems that he is one in a million. There are some sports where world class athletes are in there 40’s but they seem to be more endurance oriented like biking and triathlon type events not speed and strength.
Why can some athletes play longer then others? Part of it is mental determination and the other is unknown to some degree. There are so many things we don’t understand about the body. Why do some people recover from the same injuries that others don’t.
These are questions I’ve been trying to figure out for the last few years. What I have concluded is that its part hormonal, part genetics, part related to optimal training and the rest is still unknown.
Here are some guidelines for the older athlete:
- Adequate Rest and Recovery– that means enough sleep and rest between workouts or events;
- Periodization— which is an organized variation of training intensity over a whole athletic season or year;
- Slow Progression– letting the body fully adapt to the training protocol; and
- Optimal Nutrition– nutritional timing to help fully recover from intense training.
If you’re 40 or older let me know how you feel about this subject.
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Best – Mike Cola