Athletes typically work hard to keep up with their physique, spending lots of time at the gym or working with a trainer. Athletes often exercise daily, but as you continue to age, health concerns can begin to creep up in your performance. Older athletes may need to shift their focus to nutritional help and support.
Here are some of the main issues and challenges that occur as you get older as an athlete and what you can do to help overcome them to continue to stay active and healthy.
Bone density is reduced when you age. It’s the reason why things like slips and falls can be more severe, causing fractures or breaks to the bones. Even as an athlete in great shape, your bone strength still declines.
Supplements can help protect your bones, like vitamin D, protein, and calcium. To support bone health, you can incorporate more nutrient-fortified foods within your daily diet, including cereal, milk, and fish like salmon.
Believe it or not, getting older leaves you feeling less thirsty. You may not notice it at first, but you’ll probably be missing fluids since your thirst sensation decreases; however, for athletes who endure workouts and sweat often, or are out in hotter temperatures, staying hydrated is essential.
Checking your urine when you go to the bathroom is helpful; if the color is a darker yellow, you need to take in more fluids. You should especially incorporate more H20 when you’re exercising or if you’re outside on a hot day. Consider going by the time of day and ensuring you have a drink every couple of hours, whether you feel thirsty or not.
Senior athletes, even those with high metabolism, still suffer seeing it slowing down as they get older. If you don’t make any significant changes to your diet, you may notice that you start to gain some weight. You may begin to notice you don’t have as much energy to finish your daily workouts, and this could be a sign of your slowing metabolism.
Exercise is still a crucial part of staying healthy as you get older. But you should also look at your nutrition, and if you notice that your metabolism starts to decline, don’t push yourself hard during your workouts. Look toward your calorie intake and maybe drop some unneeded extras. But don’t skimp out on your nutrients!
Older adults lose the ability to absorb nutrients as efficiently. Senior athletes who could get away with eating lots of calories and didn’t have to worry about its effects suddenly feel the bloating and inflammation in their guts. Some nutrients that don’t get as absorbed include iron, magnesium, calcium, and vitamin B12.
It can be helpful to consult with a health professional on what supplements or foods can help you keep your diet in check, especially while still active or doing any strength training. Your nutrient needs can vary depending on if you’re on medications or have specific health conditions.
Balance and Flexibility
Since aging affects your bones and muscles, senior athletes can become less flexible and have trouble with balance and coordination. Athletes find themselves more at risk for injury, so spending a little more time stretching before a workout can go a long way.
You might also consider new exercise methods, such as yoga and balance training, since they can help give you more movement in your joints, so you’re at lower risk for injury. Even though these workouts are more low impact, you’ll still build endurance and strength.
Another unfortunate condition that often occurs in senior athletes is urinary incontinence. The bladder muscles weaken as you age, giving way to urinary tract problems. Exercises can sometimes cause senior athletes to have sudden leakage or urges to go to the bathroom.
If you have issues with incontinence, consider investing in absorbent bladder leak underwear for when you do training or work out. Then if you do have any leakage, you’re covered. You can also look into doing exercises for your pelvic floor to help strengthen the muscles around your bladder and work to prevent (or at least reduce) incontinence.
Senior athletes have different needs for nutrition and exercise. It’s essential to stay in tune with your body and reach out to your doctor or a healthcare professional if you struggle to balance your nutrition and exercise as you age.
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