You’re Never Too Old to Train Hard as Long as You’re Smart About It
By Dr. Molly Casey
Society is full of lies in regard to health and wellness. One of the most irritating to me is that as you age, you can’t train your body hard or “you’re too old to train hard.” Now this needs to be qualified by training hard and continuing it through your later years can be done if you train smart. Don’t let society kill your spirit if you love working out and training in a challenging manner. But you have to be smart about it.
Here are some tips that are even more important as you get older.
Fueling Outside of Training
Food is fuel. It’s not only fuel, but it give you the energy to do the workouts that you desire. As you age, you notice this more and more. If you’re looking to train hard, a diet with more concentrated attention paid to protein, fats, and carbohydrates is necessary. The quality of the food and the amount of each macronutrient can significantly affect how your body performs during workouts. Your younger body can handle greater stress from improper ratios (think a lot of pizza and bread, not so much quality lean proteins and vegetables), but as it gets older -- and if you pay attention -- you will see how the body suffers if not fueled appropriately. Let us not forget to drink half our body weight in ounces of water daily; this, too, makes a huge difference when pushing your machine to the limits.
Supporting the Body During Training
This one makes me chuckle. In my 20s, I could run a half marathon with little water and no electrolyte drinks and still perform pretty well by my standards. Twenty years later I’m drinking water, amino acid drinks, and electrolytes all during the same run. I don’t know that I could complete it if I didn’t. To train hard we must support our bodies and this means fulfilling its needs during the workouts. It’s not cheating. It’s proper training. The more this is done, the more fun you’ll have because the body can adapt and perform much more consistently.
Sleep is required for healing and for function. It is perhaps one of the most underplayed components that directly affects your overall health and your ability to train your body. Sleep is required for recovery both physically and mentally. Much of western society is sleep deprived and has sleep routines that leave a lot to be desired. Sleep isn’t a luxury, it is a requirement. The more you get a regular routine -- going to bed and rising at the same times and getting a quality 7-9 hours nightly -- the better your quality of life and workouts will be, and the longer and harder you’ll be able to challenge your body.
Stretching Is Required
The muscles get older along with the spine. The longer they are used, the more love and attention they need, especially if you have a history of not putting too much time or energy into them. Muscles support the structure of the spine and also move the joints of your body. If you desire to continue to challenge the body with strength and/or endurance training as you get older, the muscles require proper movement through full ranges of motion and lengthening with stretches. Often, tight muscles are weak muscles and they get this way because of chronic improper use. Stretching prior to and after workouts will support your body’s longevity.
You can train hard as you get older. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t. It is wise to hire and regularly meet with a coach and consult with your chiropractor about your goals and how best to reach them. Sometimes, another set of eyes can help you train smarter and harder if that is what you want. And you should find that you’re never too old to train hard as long as you do it smart.
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