Train Smarter, Not Harder as you Age
As you get older in the martial arts its important to note that your body doesnt respond the way they did when you were in your twenties. You need to find a way to stay in tune with your training, but not find yourself trying to heal from multiple injuries. According to Bill Larson, a second degree black belt who is in the medical profession, you have to listen to your body. He explained that if you are in pain, its a good sign that your body is telling you something.
As you get older you have to understand the aging process and understand that injuries take longer to get over, Larson explains. What may have taken a couple of weeks or a month in your twenties and thirties; it takes you five to six months, maybe a year when you get older.
Working out should be tailored to the aging process. You need to know when to take it easy, when to stop, when to start, when to turn it on, when to slow it down, etc. You have to pace yourself in your training regimen. Larson says that it is important to train slowly when you are older, because you can always speed things up when necessary. You can slow down, because you know when to turn up the volume, he explains, where the young wheels want to do everything hard, fast, how much and how many.
Larson notes that as you age you will realize that you could probably still do all those things you did when you were younger, meeting your maximum potential, but you need to know when to customize things to your body type and your own style of performing and teaching the art.
Stretching plays an integral role in the aging process. Although it is no mystery how important stretching daily is to a martial artist, stretching properly is the key. Larson prefers to stretch the larger muscle groups and he makes a bi-weekly visit to his chiropractor to maintain appropriate body structure.
Larson feels that you need to do aerobic workouts and also do some weight training or other anaerobic workouts to strengthen the muscles as you age. You are going to lose muscle mass as you age, he explains. Just like anything else, if you dont use it you lose it.Calisthenics are a good supplement to weight training, which will stress the muscles and the joints to assist in maintaining muscle mass.
The trick is to stay with your training. You dont want to have long extended absences from stretching and training or it will only get more difficult. According to Larson, as you get older you lose the elasticity of your muscles and you also lose a lot of the fluids in your body including the lubricants of the joints. The bottom line is to keep loose and limber, Larson adds. The key is to not get away from stretching.If you dont keep stretching you will raise your susceptibility for an injury.
As you get older, use your head and common sense. Dont push yourself too far. Sometimes you will find that your body will hit a plateau and Larson suggests that you allow your body to take a vacation. Take a day off from training to get re-energized and you will feel much better and will overcome your obstacle.