Older Athletes and Healthy Aging

With more than 100 million individuals in the United States over the age 50, potential athletes and people interested in high performance fitness is increasing. You may not want to compete in a sports event, yet you may be interested in maintaining as much strength, stamina, agility, endurance and vigor as possible as you age and maybe able to benefit from high performance training.


A minimum of two full-body 30- to 60-minute workouts per week for all types of athletes is recommended, three weekly sessions are advised when you have the time available. (The American Council on Exercise in their November /December 2019 Fitness Journal). research hows that resistance training is the most critical variable in main training peak capacity. Multi-joint free-weight exercises such as squats and lunges forces older athletes to stabilize movement while performing lifts and high intensity interval training is the preferred system for improving overall cardiovascular function. Most sports consist of moving at many speeds and in many directions and the ability to move proficiently. These multi-joint exercises and moving activities at various speeds in many directions are useful for long-term movement efficiency and are valuable for healthy aging.


Athletes Ages 50 to 64

Midlife adults ages 50-64 will begin to experience declines in physical capacity as part of the aging process. Declines in fitness requires adjustments in exercise load and workouts to avoid injury.


Athletes Ages 65 to 80

Older adult athletes ages 65-80 are somewhat unusual however the numbers are increasing. Declines due to aging continue but are slowed with challenging but doable exercise regimes. Staying healthy and injury-free is important since illness, getting hurt cause disruptions in training, increases functional loss and accelerate the aging process.


Progressive Overload

Progressive overload is the foundation of all training and must be applied to the high performance training program. The principle of progressive overload dictates that one must work harder to stimulate the body to get stronger and faster.


Rest and Recovery

Your weekly exercise program should include time for rest and recovery. Recovery rates from physical challenges differ from individual to individual and rest periods should be adjusted on an individual basis. Prevention of injury and overtraining needs to be avoided since older adults do not recover as quickly as younger individuals. More recovery time between intensive workouts is required to prevent stress to the body, which can increase the chances of injury, illness with reduces immune system and cause mental stress.


Successful Ageless Athletes

For optimal results, workouts must be balanced and tailored to the older athlete and their individual need which can help deliver robust performances in their preferred sport. A personal trainer can help in workout development to support your preferred sport.


References: ACE Fitness Journal Nov/Dec. 2-19 Training High Performance Older Athletes

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