Getting old sucks.
Yeah, sure, it's better than the alternative.
But still, it sucks.
The mind is willing, but the body says...
When I was young, and an athlete, I pushed myself pretty hard. I could do a lot of "work" for a long time (and needed to, because I am NOT a natural athlete). While there were consequences (I think by my count I sprained my ankle at least six times as a cheerleader and a track and field athlete), I do not remember feeling like I've been hit by a truck after a training session.
This was after hours of running up and down hills, of throwing 8 lb shotput and 2 lb discus, of being a part of human pyramids where I was one of the people at the base, with other girls standing on my hips and shoulders (both at the same time). None of this is lightweight stuff.
I did this almost daily without serious physical consequences.
When I was training kobudo - y'know, not too long ago - I spent a few hours not wearing shoes on a wood surface, flailing around objects that don't weigh much, and by the end, I'm walking funny and I have sharp pain in my joints. I had to cancel training planned for the next day because I didn't think I can manipulate a weapon without it flying out of my grasp and putting an eye out, much less walk all the way from my car to the training area (all of, oh, 50 yards) without needing to stop and rest a couple of times.
More recently, I spent a weekend of panantkan (just an hour and a half and not going hard at all), a couple of hours working on some Anyos (that's what we call forms or kata in Arnis), working out some sinawali patterns I'm not very familiar with for maybe an hour, and then playing those patterns with our Meetup for about an hour. That was spread out over three days, mind you, and it's not a super-hard weekend of work. I've done much, much more plenty of times.
My shoulder hurts so much I think my arm is going to fall off.
This ain't fair, y'all.
I know, I know, who said life is fair, blah blah blah. Granted.
I came to training late in life, and I started because I wanted my old age to suck less (because if I continued my chain-smoking, sedentary ways, it was gonna be AWFULSAUCE). So that's the kicker of all this.
If I didn't spent hours banging sticks or barefoot on wood floors or what have you, and paying for it with needing a day to recover from it sometimes, it would be WORSE.
I have plenty of friends in my age group that don't train or take regular exercise, that are basically me before I fell into martial arts. They have all the ache and pains and nagging injuries I do, but without the fun I have in training.
There's a reason this meme is pretty popular in my crowd:
Man, how bad would I feel if I didn't train? Even if I didn't feel any better... how much fun would I have missed?
But still... getting old SUCKS!
Have you noticed extra pains or needing more recovery time from training hard as you've aged? What tips would you have for the older martial artist to prevent injury and pain? Let us know in the comments!