It's match day!!!
You've worked your body into the ground all week and although you have the mind and spirit of a 20 year old, your body moves and feels like it's 21. Ha, who are we kidding. Your body has been through world wars and has the scars to show it. Each season you say to yourself and your mates "I'm done, I'm hanging my boots up". But, we all know you don't mean it! Each season, each injury destroys your confidence bit at a time. "Am I too old for this," you say? As you walk off the pitch looking like you just spent 80 minutes riding bareback on an over excited horse. A few beers seem to numb the pain and the laughs heal the physical wounds- until the next day, when your wife has to roll you off the bed so you can crawl to breakfast. A few days later you're walking again. Shall I play? Aahhh go on. You pull up in the car as your mates start smiling. One shouts out (usually the ring leader of the group, Luke) "I toad you" ('told' but said in a Combe Down RFC accent), "I toad you you'd be ere" as we all smile and think of something witty to say.
This blog I dedicate to my club, Combe Down RFC and friends fellow PT's Paul Wickens and Paul Edmondson. Not to forget Gary Gray of Gray Institute, Mr Dave Parker and TRX King Matt Gleed.
Being 26 years old, surprisingly, many, many injuries were caused in my earlier careless weight lifting days, way before I tried playing rugby. Those of you who know me well know that my gym days were about getting massive and shapely- purely aesthetic goals. Nothing particularly healthy but I looked healthy when I stood in a posed position in front of the mirror at home. Anyway, I was a 20 year old athlete trapped in a poorly conditioned body. Shooting pains, deep burning aches, irritating sniper cramps every day. Simple functional tasks like driving or tying my laces became unbearable at times. As far as competing in sport went, NO CHANCE.
NO CHANCE, until an interesting chain of events happened starting with a personal trainer course, a desire to work with the best, taken a golden opportunity and having faith in my charismatic teacher Paul Edmondson- who introduced me to his bio-mechanic guru's Dave Parker, Gary Gray and Matt Gleed. From them, I learnt how to assess and train the most trapped pained bodies ever. Before I share this with you I'd like to thank fellow friend and PT Paul Wickens for encouraging me to share what I do.
First, we need to accept that age is a factor, BUT NOT A LIMITING ONE. I have worked with people in their 50's, 60's and even up to late 80's, who have had a tremendously complicated injury history. Secondly, as we age we may not regenerate as quickly as someone younger. HOWEVER THERE ARE FITTER, STRONGER AND HEALTHIER OLDER ATHLETES OUT THERE. My father Neil Johnson is one of them and a few of my clients could definitely run your average 20 year old off the park and maybe even throw them off the park in Combe Down RFC's No.8 Luke Cox's case. This man seems to be getting stronger and fitter with age. (To see his testimonial- stay tuned!)
Here I will lay down the OLDER ATHLETES SURVIVAL RULES:
1) LEARN TO BECOME OPEN MINDED
2) GET ASSESSED BY A QUALIFIED MOVEMENT ASSESSOR- physio, personal trainer with relevant qualifications. *(GET A FREE BIO-MECHANICS ASSESSMENT WITH US, just message us)
3) DEEP TISSUE SPORTS MASSAGE- full body hands on with a masseur or use a foam roller regularly if active. Rejuvenate your fascia.
4) CONDITIONING- dynamic 3D stretching such as deep squatting and lunging etc, to keep body in healthy alignment. Restore alignment and motion. See our other articles for more.
5) HEALTHIER EATING- Don't carry more baggage than you need and detox the unwanted harmful toxins.
6) SLEEP- Learn how to break the 3 hour rut with hypno cd's whilst you attempt to sleep. Increase your sleep quality.
7) TRAIN SMART FOR THE WEEKLY BATTLE- be pro-active in rehab. Preventions beat cures. Avoid injuries by preparing your body safely for Saturday's friendly competitive needs. Need ideas? Message us for our OLDER ATHLETE PROGRAMS. Remember you have to survive before you thrive. Recover to perform better!
8) USE OF COLD COMPRESS- if you're taking a battering cold compresses can help speed up your recovery.
9) GET RE-ASSESSED- When you commit to sporting longevity, progress is so crucial. The competition recovers quicker than you without the essential need for above. However, they will one day be standing in your shoes in desperation one day reading this same article.
EARLIER I MENTIONED THE NAME LUKE COX. This man is a machine and was close to being 'out of order'. Last season we saw him not only come back from another frustrating injury but as others around him were dying off he was getting stronger, making try scoring runs, smashing his opposite numbers around like rag dolls. He was faster and fitter than guys half his age because he implements the OLDER ATHLETES RULES.
If you have any useful recovery tips for the older athlete please comment below. Useful comments please.
To your rugby playing longevity,