As we age, our bodies change. Muscle mass & strength declines, it may take longer to recover from certain physical activities, and our mobility decreases making us more likely to incur certain injuries. What are some steps you can take to continue to build your strength and maintain your mobility? In this article we will discuss a few tips on maintaining your strength. Make sure to tailor these steps according to your own current fitness level, injury state, and other factors!
The main foundation for any training program is volume. It's a lot easier to become stronger if you're able to handle more work and it can make it easier to recover faster than if you suddenly jumped into your workout lifting weights. Maintain a really good warmup so that it can help you work up towards more intensive goals. Of course, you want to asses your own fitness state and gradually work up your volume of strength training.
Common injuries in aging athletes include the knee, lower back, and shoulder injuries. With guidance from your doctor and/or physical therapist, they may suggest various different movements/stretches to address back pain. Regarding knee and shoulder pain, the key is be balanced. Having a physical trainer can be useful in making sure that your form is correct, that you're strengthening the right muscles, and that you're not overcompensating or over-straining yourself. In addition, the older you get the harder it is to recover from injuries, so the best thing to do is to prevent injuries from occurring in the first place. Don't take any needless risks with a certain form or technique. Be smart. If you feel any pain or discomfort, stop immediately and assess the issue.
Strength training is essential in maintaining fitness with age. However, in most cases, it is swapped with only cardio exercises. It's important to train consistently just with some added care and being more cautious with loading patterns and the intensity of the workouts. It's always good to also give yourself a little bit of challenge. Some weight trainers recommend at least three to four weight training sessions a week for an older athlete. In addition, once you slow down and stop training, there is a great decline in fitness for older ones than younger ones and it is usually much harder to regain it back.
Aside from keeping up a good routine, volume, and addressing injuries as soon as you notice them, making sure to focus on getting enough down time to recover from your workout is also essential. As you age, your body bounces back a lot more slower than before from more intense exercises. That's why having a healthy lifestyle is also essential. When we're young we may be able to get away with poor eating and sleeping habits and still train fine, but older athlete can't. Make sure to get adequate amounts of sleep. Have a good sleep ritual and get at least eight to ten hours of proper sleep. Some athletes also enjoy investing time for acupuncture or deep tissue massages. Whatever works well for your body, make sure to invest well in your recovery time so that you are ready for your next training!