by Dana Cavalea May 03, 2017

If you have made it to the milestone of 50 years old.. congrats. You are a survivor. You are at the half-way point!
If you are not quite there yet...Listen Up.
If you are over 50...Really Listen Up.
Spending my career working with the Yankees, I learned a tremendous amount when it came to keeping "older" players healthy.
For years, we were the oldest team in the league but our top players were also some of the oldest and best (and healthiest) in the game.
We had a formula. It was a simple one.
Identify. Treat. Train.
Everything we did started with analysis. Even a player like Derek Jeter had a changing physical profile from 30 years old to 35 years old. You could not work with him at 35 like you did at 30.
The identification process was in place to locate deficits of strength and muscle function, symmetry of movements, analysis of postural changes, pain patterns and measure reductions in mobility/ ranges of motion both in the joint and muscle.
Once the changes/ issues were identified, we then put a treatment plan in place. The plan was hyper-focused on the players exact needs.
What one person needs is not the same as the other-- so it must be considered. For example.. if you deal with chronic back stiffness and pain, you need a daily plan that attacks that deficit specifically. A healthy back does not require the same focus.
The treatment prescription derived from "identification" we referred to as a players "every-days".. meaning these are the 5-10 protocols you are required to complete everyday so we can ensure optimal performance.
Finally, once the identification step and treatment steps have been completed, we then move to the training. The training takes into consideration the identification step, making sure the training program does not aggravate or cause an issue with baseline health or conflict with current conditions.
Again using the back example-- you would never use a backloaded squat with somebody that exhibits chronic back pain. The load and compressive forces would easily trigger a reaction.. so you would use modifications that work along side the treatment prescription. Training should always be "needs" specific to the "lifestyle, activity, and sport" of the person... as well as consider the "goals- of the person and identified goals."
So how does all of this help you? As you fall into different age brackets, you must adjust programming accordingly.
Those in their 40s,50s,60s will typically lack balance, mobility/ flexibility, and need a higher dosage of soft-tissue work/ massage to "feel" more mobile,healthier and pain free.
This, combined with "lower" impact conditioning is highly suggested. High force/ high speed running and jumping activities are still possible, but will require more recovery between bouts for healing- which is totally normal.
And finally for this age bracket, adding lean mass through strength training is essential.
You must increase your strength since the aging process will atrophy you naturally. Lifting weights using a structured program (considering your identified needs/ contraindications) is critical to aging slower from a physical standpoint.
For those that want to go one step further, practicing movements like going up the steps, balancing on one leg and getting up from a chair/couch with no "hands" or "rocking" will continue to prep you.
Every year that a player played, my goal was to reduce their weight by about 1-3%.. which again continued to take stress off their aging body.
Why am I writing this? After spending the day in NYC yesterday, I saw a lot of older folks that were "beat-up" physically- slouched, dragging their feet, limping, walking with shortened gaits and just no "bounce" left in their step.
Most of this can be avoided if you "prepare" to age-- and understand the more you do from a "preventative" standpoint, the greater the victory in the end. You will add more "life" to your "life".. start now.#Trainlikeapro
Dana Cavalea
Dana Cavalea

Dana Cavalea is the World Champion Director of Strength and Conditioning & Performance of the New York Yankees. Currently, he is a High Performance Speaker & Consultant to Pro Athletes, Entrepreneurs, Business Executives, and Workforces on lifestyle strategies to reduce stress, improve work/life integration, and most importantly improve daily performance /outcomes. Book Dana to Speak at your Company Event or Conference Today!

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