I was in the change room at Aikido the other day and a few of us who live on the other side of 50 were chatting about how our training has changed with age and what the challenges are when you’re an older athlete.
Here’s some of that we’ve noticed:
- We need to warm up! There’s no leaping right into break falls for us. The longer the warm up, the happier our bodies are. Without an adequate warm up, things clunk and thunk and hit the mats hard.
- We are more injury averse. Healing takes longer and takes us out of the game so we are very much committed to not getting hurt. That means if our bodies aren’t cooperating on a given day and we’re finding a particular technique challenging, we are likely to bow off the mat and observe.
- We work harder and harder to stay the same! Whether it’s running or Aikido or riding our bikes, we can still do some of the things we used to be able to do but it’s more effort and more hours training for the same result.
- That’s tricky because we also note that we need longer to recover. So scheduling becomes an issue. We need to fit in all the training and fit in adequate recovery time. We’re less able to go to five classes in one week and one the next. Consistency and timing really makes a difference.
- We also need our sleep. We all need lots of it and feel rotten pretty fast if we miss out. It’s not just no more all nighters. That happened years ago. Now we even find staying up late on the weekend hard. We’re better if we keep the same schedule all the time. Boring but true.
- And then there’s food! There is much less flexibility than we had when we were younger about food. There’s no working out without eating. But also no eating right before either. See above about scheduling. It makes a difference.
- We are also all working hard to keep our mobility through our joints. See this good article on Mobility. I need to get back to CrossFit or start a mobility routine on my own.
- Oh, and one last one, the cold is extra hard on our bodies. We like the heat. Hot yoga over cold yoga. The hot tub after Aikido. On cold days we need extra stretching and longer warm ups.
How about you? What’s different about staying fit after fifty? If you’re not there yet, what’s different now than when you were twenty?