When you are over 40, injury prevention becomes a much more important aspect of your exercise regimen. Taking steps to prevent injury is always an important part of any athletic person’s exercise routine. As you age, it becomes increasingly important while it also becomes increasingly difficult to recover from injuries.
This is especially true if you are just becoming involved in sports or in the martial arts at this age. You should not feel intimidated by the increased physical demands that will be asked of your body, but you should respect your body’s needs and respond to them by training and exercising in a way that strengthens joints and maintains your body’s flexibility. Insufficient flexibility is the primary reason for suffering injury during workout or an athletic activity.
Another way people can run into injuries is by beginning a training program and getting carried away with exercising. As with all things in life, it is better to start slow and learn about your body’s limitations. You do not need to accept these limitations. You just need to recognize where they are so that you address them appropriately.
While this article strikes a cautionary note about exercise and martial arts for the middle-aged, it should also be noted that there are many famous examples of people who change their lives through exercise well into old age. What makes these people successful, however, is their changed approach to exercise as they grow older.
As you age you will find that you need more and more time to warm up. While the 20 year olds might turn up at class and start leaping about the place, if you try that as a 40, 50 or 60 year old, you will soon do yourself an injury! So recognize this, and be very conscientious about ensuring that your body is going to be ready to cope with what you ask of it. Perhaps arrive at class early, and start to prepare earlier. Or perhaps begin to prepare before you even leave home with some exercises to loosen your joints and muscles.
Also be sure to take a longer-term view on injury prevention. Strength, flexibility and cardio-vascular fitness will all help in ensuring that you are able to cope with the demands you will place on your body in the course of a martial arts lesson. Spend some time every day working on one of these three areas, and you will be able to increase your chances of training injury-free for a long time to come.
Edit: I sent out an edition of Alive and Kicking about this topic… check out Injury Prevention for the Older Martial Artist