In 6 months I will turn 40 years old. It was at 30 years old that I started noticing that my body didn't recover like it used to and that it was also becoming increasingly difficult to perform certain types of physical activity. That can pose some problems for a coach because physical demonstrations play a big role in being able to teach. For me though, that was simple enough to overcome because I learned to use my athletes to do the demonstrations for the rest of the team as I taught from what they were doing. Having to make that adjustment has actually made me a better coach because I have had to learn clear, concise, language to get my point across.
From a health and wellness perspective the transition hasn't been so smooth for me. I've learned that as I get older my mind is alot more willing than my body.....which leads to me pushing harder than I should in the weight room or in various forms of "cardio" .....and ultimately results in some sort of injury for me. I have felt a pressure to maintain elite levels of fitness and training because of the role I play as a strength & conditioning coach and because I always wanted to be able to complete anything I asked my athletes to do. But the fact is, I just can't anymore. So in order to still stay fit without risking injury, I have made several adaptations to my exercise routine.
1. Learn to read your body. If it hurts, don't do it. Not the "burn" hurt, but joint pain.
2. If exercising consecutive days in a row causes too much joint pain, wait until it goes away before working out again.
3. If even minimal exercise is causing reoccuring types of pain, while it could be age, overuse, or improper technique, it could also be some sort of imbalance or deficiency. Make an appointment with a good orthopedic doctor. After an intial assessment, they may recommend physical therapy and get you going again pain free.
4. If you were once a runner and want to start again, begin by walking. As your body gets used to do the distance, start adding some jogging intervals. Over time, if you feel good, add more intervals, increase your running distance, running time, and/or speed. Be sure to focus on good running technique over just covering a certain distance for sake of completing it. It's possible you can rebuild your "running" legs. BUT, remember Tip #1.
5. If weights is your exercise of choice, use technique and Tip #1 as your guide for how much weight you should lift in every exercise.
6. Ask yourself "Why I am doing this?" If it's to feel better, improve your health, raise your self esteem and/or lower stress levels, your good. If it's for vanity or a desire to reclaim some former glory, you better watch out. You'll never look good enough and you can't relive the old days but you could create harmful mental, emotional, or physical side effects.
About Dave Schall: Dave has been the Head Strength
& Conditioning Coach at Westminster Christian Academy for the past 6 years.
He is a former Division I and Professional Soccer player and holds a Bachelor’s
Degree in Physical Education and Health and a Master’s Degree in Kinesiology
and Physical Education. Dave earned a Certified Strength and Conditioning
Specialist credential in 2000. He has been married to Stephanie for 7 years and
has a 4- year old daughter Madeline and a 2-year old son Colton.