One thing we all know to be very true is that aging is not fun.
Aging is a natural part of the life cycle but a part of the cycle we only enjoy when we are turning 18 or 21.
As we encroach upon 40 and eventually pass the milestone, we start to feel and notice changes that we are typically not happy with or fond of.
Working with some of the oldest teams in Professional Baseball with the Yankees, year over year I was able to compare the bodies and mindsets of 21 year olds to those in their late 30s (which is old for baseball) and identify a tremendous needs differential between the two subsets of the baseball population.
The younger player had more spring and bounce in their step, was more pliable, had muscle tissue that was easier to stretch, a faster adaption rate and a metabolic furnace working inside them allowing for more "poor" nutrition choices with little repercussions (especially with late night eating).
The older player was typically plagued with more daily aches & pains, tighter muscle tissue, fatigue, slower adaption rates, soreness from new protocols and paid dearly for diets with higher levels of starchy carbs, grains, sugars and late night eating/ indulgences.
As you approach your 40, 50, and 60 year old milestones, there is less forgiveness as it relates to the body.
The accomplice to an aging body is a struggling mind. The mind is working diligently to find palatable solutions to reverse the process. Those going through the process are almost in a state of disbelief- managing the thoughts of "How did I get here so fast?" with the question, "Now what do I do?"
These are very fair questions because this is very "new" territory and your life experience has not fully trained you for it.
So what do we do?
Life for me has always come down to my training. In working with those "aging" players, keeping them feeling great came down to a balance between training and recovery, alongside moderated volume and nutritional reform.
Meaning, in some cases we had to substitute activities that would consistently cause pain.
But, for the most part we were able to keep the activities going by:
1. Changing the "amount" of games/ practice sessions played per week
2. Adding a day of rest after aggressive bouts of activity- minimizing back to back play
3. Leaning them out by trying to drop about 1%-2% of their body weight per year after the age 30 to reduce musculo-skeletal stress
4. Incorporating a consistent daily schedule of soft-tissue work (massage, trigger point therapy, hot/cold therapies, stretching/ joint mobility)
5. Working with their mental mindset to create a level of acceptance as it relates towards the aging process- but be unwilling to accept your body "not performing" because that is avoidable.
By focusing on these 5 steps and creating a better schedule/ plan of managed care, we would see tremendous increases in physical and mental vitality.
Unlike your used Mercedes after 100k miles and 10 years on the engine, you can not just "trade-in" or "junk" your body. You must be very diligent with your daily, weekly and monthly maintenance. Missed days after 40 are not a good thing.
There are no more free passes when you pass 40 as your "decline" rate is much faster than that of a 20 year old.
Take it seriously. Do not take how you feel or your body for granted. Train for the game. Train for life.
**And please.. Never use age as an excuse. That is negative psychology and will speed up your rate of depreciation. This is the equivalent of saying you are "Tired" and that is why you can't do something.. stop it!