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If you think it’s challenging to continue doing sports after 40. You’re wrong! We give you the keys to stopping the physical deterioration that can occur over the years.
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Keys to maintaining our physical capacity
Before exposing the keys to maintaining our physical capacities despite the years, it is necessary first to define this: what constitutes our physical form?
It is a quality related to three parameters:
- Aerobic capacity is the maximum volume of oxygen that the body can process in aerobic exercise (VO2 max).
- Functional threshold: maximum intensity that we can maintain for a long time (between 40 minutes and one hour).
- Economic: it is the efficiency with which oxygen is used during exercise, which fundamentally depends on our technique and strength.
Essential Exercises for Athletes After 40
If, as we have seen previously, the decline in our physical fitness with age is fundamentally determined by a decrease in aerobic capacity (VO2 max) and the loss of muscle fibres that cause a reduction in muscle mass and strength. Consequently, the most adequate would be to influence an intensity that allows us to avoid or delay the decline of these capacities. So let’s see what would be the keys to our training, both at the level of training methodology and the factors associated with it that affect the longevity of our sport:
Training and age: the keys to prolonging sports life
When the objective of the training is to improve or prevent the decline of our aerobic capacity, the methodology to be used is high-intensity interval training, being the same from submaximal to maximum intensities (intensity that we could only maintain for a few minutes continuously). For veteran athletes, adopting a conservative approach for the intervals’ duration and intensity is better. This work should seek medium-term objectives, not short-term magic recipes that can end in injury.
The fundamental reason an endurance athlete performs strength training is that it helps her improve her performance.
Strength training planning should be progressive, with an initial phase of anatomical adaptation (exercises with very little weight or self-loading), the transition from low to high loads (strength resistance with 15-20 repetitions and two or three series) and maximum strength (high loads with few repetitions), with a phase of initial development and maintenance of it. In addition to the muscles involved in the movement, both the lower and upper bodies. It is convenient to perform specific work on the central segment (core) to stabilize it and provide sufficient mobility to withstand training loads.
The musculature of veteran athletes is more susceptible to damage from intense exercise since the repair process is slower and the adaptive response (super-compensation) is less effective than at younger ages. This slowdown causes us to take longer to be ready for a new demanding session and increases the risk of injury. Therefore, the two most essential components of recovery are sleep and nutrition. The purpose of sleep is the growth and rejuvenation of the organism. And it is of paramount importance to any athlete. Whatever their age, over the years, this is a crucial aspect to take care of if we want to maintain our performance.
The second important factor in recovering after sleep is food. It is crucial to provide us with the necessary energy to face our training sessions and facilitate recovery. Veteran athletes need a higher intake of protein than younger ones. It is because, as we get older, proteins are not synthesized to restructure slow-twitch muscles.
Therefore, athletes require more protein to ensure tissue reconstruction during sleep. If we add to this that studies show that a protein-rich dinner improves sleep quality. We have another compelling reason to consume these, both after training and with the last meal of the day.
Training Keys After 40
- Decrease total training volume but maintain intensity, especially high-intensity interval training to minimize loss of aerobic capacity.
- In your training, alternate days of intensity with easy ones to facilitate recovery and minimize the risk of injury.
- Work your strength throughout the year. You can complete this with strength-resistance work in periods in which you do more aerobic training. In phases of less aerobic load or rest, introduce more intense strength work with more gear and fewer repetitions to alleviate the loss of muscle mass and increase the resistance of your bone system.
- If for any athlete, rest and recovery are part of the training process. In veteran athletes, recovery is fundamental, and the best recuperator is quality sleep in sufficient quantity.
- Watch your diet and pay special attention to protein intake, especially after your workouts and before bed.
- Planned and regular training is the best treatment to deal with the physical and psychological changes resulting from menopause and minimize their effect on our health.
Do not prolong the customary time in the cama. Consider always that you can get rid of other habits. Hydrate the body and adjust the diet to the essentials of the moment (the most active, the essential calories).
Also Read: What are Proteins? Types, Benefits, and More