The importance of self care
‘An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.’
There is a harsh reality that most fitness junkies won’t tell you. Your body is decaying. Most studies place the apex of physical fitness and athletic prowess at around 25 years old. After that, it’s going downhill.
Your body does not recuperate from injury the way that it used to. You won’t put on muscle like you did when you were in high school. I mean the tragedy of professional athletes is that it seems like just when they are starting to figure out how to be a professional, the body starts to revolt.
We idolize a guy like LeBron James who still competes at the top of his sport as the other guys he was drafted with go on farewell tours. Tom Brady released a best selling book because he’s the guy that has the secret to playing quarterback in the NFL until he’s 50.
But these are outliers. Very very far outliers. And even with them being these statistical anomalies, there will come a day when both of these legends have to hang it up. And it won’t be the mind that gives up. It will be the body.
So the question to ask yourself is really what do you want out of your fitness regiment? If you are a professional athlete who is paid handsomely to compete at peak level then I would encourage you to attack your workouts and push your body to it’s very limits. But have you ever seen a retired football player? They just don’t move like their same age peers. And they’ve got all the war stories of the damage that they’ve done to their bodies over the course of their career.
Now let’s consider the possibility that you, my reader, are not a professional athlete. Let’s consider the possibility that you have a sport or activity that you enjoy and would like to enjoy for years to come in a way that supports the overall health of your body.
I think that’s an amazing goal to have and incredibly attainable.
But you’ve got to do the work.
And in this case, the work might be doing less.
A basketball player needs to have the ability to cut and change directions quickly. So maybe once or twice a week they should work on a lateral agility program to help support their weekly pickup game.
An acro yogi practicing advanced postures must have excellent range of motion and impeccable joint health to ensure that the end range activities that he or she performs do not do irreversible damage to the joints and supporting structures. So maybe they should have a gentle restorative program that allows their body to get used to certain shapes before challenging them in those shapes.
A runner needs the muscles of the legs to be fatigue resistance as they start to add more mileage to their weekly count. So maybe they should have a fatigue resistant strength building program to go hand in hand with their running schedule.
The body is an amazing thing, even as it ages. And if you look you’ll find tons of stories of athletes who pushed past the normally imposed age restrictions to play their sport much longer than anyone expected. But what you might not read about it all the things that they did that were not specifically their sport, that helped keep them competing.
Dr. Kevin Davi D.P.T.