how to recover like a pro athlete

Recovery is an integral part of maintaining physical fitness. That’s why you’ll find specialized setups such as ice baths, compresses, and even masseuses waiting for a pro athlete after his match.

However, injuries or illnesses sound like a big problem when you’re in your 50s, not to mention you’re probably grappling with aching joints here and there. However, just because you’re growing older doesn’t mean you have to resign to your fate. Here are four ways to recover like a pro athlete, even in your 50s.

1. Get enough sleep

Stress and physical exertion during the day cause damage to our cells, whether you feel it yet or not. At this age group, sleep is not an easy thing to come across. Both men and women at this period experience a decline in hormones that aid in sleep while those that disrupt sleep–including melatonin and cortisol–are on the rise because of stress and the lack of sleep.

Multiple studies have established the connection between sleep and recovery, mainly because sleeping is the body’s way to regenerate damaged cells and tissues to prepare you for the following day. Pro athletes usually have about ten hours of sleep a day, and that doesn’t include their naps in between training sessions.

To get a good sleeping routine, practice and consistency is the key. To start, set a time for sleeping and waking up. This includes going in and out of bed and staying away from any form of artificial lighting. Looking at your phone while trying to fall asleep doesn’t help since the light, plus the content you see, stimulates your brain and makes falling asleep even harder.

2. Adapt your exercise routine

An optimal exercise routine depends on a lot of factors: the body part you want to focus on, the intensity, time available, and even age. Yes, as you grow older, your exercise routine has to adapt to the physiological changes your body is experiencing. It will reduce your risks of injury and help you bounce back faster in case one happens.

Before, you could dive into your intense workout regime in your 20s and 30s and leave stretching before or after every session. Now that you’re in your 50s, you have to stretch more often. Collagenous tendons, which help you maintain flexibility, start to decrease with age. Stretching after every workout could help your articulation stay in top shape, even as you enter a more advanced age.

Another important change in your routine is the added emphasis on resistance training. As bone density and muscle mass starts to decline, you’ll need to invest more in increasing their respective strengths. This will help you maintain your physical strength and reduce your risks of injury from falls and fractures.

3. Get a massage or a PT session

There are forms of massage therapy that are included as a part of treatment plans. Where regular spa massages usually provide relief from tension and pain, massage therapy is more targeted and can be used to address more serious problems. It can be used to help you manage chronic pain or restore function to an injured or diseased part.

Pro athletes regularly visit physical therapists for release massages as well as gait assessment to thoroughly check their physical fitness levels. You can do the same, especially if you need help in recovering from a sickness or injury. Generally, a massage reduces stress and allows your tense muscles to loosen up and help you relax. Aside from improving the condition of your muscles after physical exertion, a massage also improves your blood circulation, which helps lower your blood pressure and even your heart rate.

For people heading into their senior years, regular massage therapy is a great way to slow down the effects of aging in general. It feels relaxing, helps you manage pain, and even improves your range of motion over time.

4. Adjust your diet

If you’re living a physically-demanding lifestyle, recovering from an injury, if you’re in an advanced stage in life, you need all the help you can get. The food you take can also help in recovering from an injury or an illness, The Central Orthopedic Group suggests six types of foods ideal for people coming back from sports injuries. These are foods rich in protein, vitamin C, omega-3 fatty acid, zinc, vitamin D and calcium, as well as fiber. These foods help different aspects of your body speed up their healing process. For example, foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids help control inflammation especially in the injured area while zinc helps you heal wounded tissues faster.

Even if you’re not injured, eating a balanced diet ensures that your body has the nutrients that it needs to provide you with enough energy and help damaged tissues regenerate. This is even more important, since your body undergoes changes that have to be met with changes in diet. Eating more fiber, protein, and limiting calories are some of the dietary changes necessary for people in their 50s and beyond.

Conclusion

A heavily physical lifestyle or even advanced age is not enough reason to suffer injuries in silence. There are a number of methods to support and accelerate recovery. In the same way they help pro athletes perform at their best every time, you can also adopt these strategies not only to recover from an illness or injury but also to improve your quality of life.

About Katie Pierce

Katie Pierce is a teacher-slash-writer who loves telling stories to an audience, whether it’s bored adults in front of a computer screen or a bunch of hyperactive 4-year-olds. Writing keeps her sane (most of the time) and allows her to enjoy some quiet time in the evening before she walks into a room of screaming kids (all of whom she loves dearly) the next morning.

1 Comment

  1. David Smethurst on January 6, 2022 at 1:39 am

    Great Blog, very relatable to me coming into my 50th year. Training smarter not harder.

Leave a Comment