What Age Limits? Just Accept the Changes!

So I am fortuitous to live in an environment that truly lends itself to an active and healthy lifestyle. That is, I live in Whistler, BC – mountain biking and skiing mecca renown across the globe for these sports. One of the biggest, baddest and yet very welcoming mountain ranges in the world that is skied by hundreds of thousands each year and attracts similar numbers in its warmer months to explore its hundreds of mountain biking and hiking trails and world famous downhill mountain bike park. 

Still enough juice left for a pose

Living around these parts is definitely a lifestyle choice. Clean, fresh air, a smoking by-law that prohibits anyone smoking within 6 meters of any doorway, air filters, drinking or dining patio (if only it could be banned altogether..), this truly is a unique part of the western world for many good reasons and one in which thousands sample every year.

In winter, many a local will think nothing of perhaps skiing for a couple of hours before work, or, perhaps taking in a spot of x-country skiing after work for an evening activity. During the warmer months, thoughts turn to spending any time they can on their mountain bikes as they propel themselves around the hundreds of kilometers of trails around the valley and mountains. What more of a picture perfect place to get out and go for a run or a hike, where everywhere there are sights that continue to take your breath away. The summer draws many to its lakes to swim and kayak or simply relax after all of these activities, but whatever the choice, there are an abundant list of reasons why those here love to be active and partake in the adrenaline fuelled sports.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending how you look at this, there is an excellent medical center on hand here, which I can tell you from considerable experience, is a very busy place to be. Neither skiing / boarding or mountain biking should be seen as dangerous sports, but do of course, carry their own inherent risks. Too often one can see someone with their slings or plaster casts being adorned or hobbling on their newly acquired crutches – like a badge of honour.

Now, for all it’s ‘healthy’ activities, there are an abundance of ‘drinking holes’ for one to relax or party. Despite the resort’s parent company trying desperately over the years to slowly change its reputation, this resort is often recognized as a party town. This is a truism of these parts in so much that many individuals like to do things to excess. Party hard at night (and day sometimes..) and ski or ride hard during the day. Not easy to do, believe me! Maybe in my more youthful days I could have strung a couple of days together like this, but it’s perhaps best left to those with ‘fresher’ ink on their birth certificates.

So the onset of age does affect us, doesn’t it? Not everyone, but for most, yes! It is an unescapable fact that as we tick of the years, our bodies that just that little bit longer to recover. Whatever we ask of our bodies, be it to consume a little too much alcohol, ski hard all day long, train for the next physical challenge or simply to recover from an injury, it just doesn’t get any easier. Now, we can either accept and respect this fact or continue to suffer as we push our bodies further. We can help ourselves of course, by eating a little healthier, perhaps drinking a little less and perhaps getting just that little bit of extra rest, but none will turn back the clock.

No-one’s saying we should consider putting our feet up and watch the grass grow around us once we reach a certain age. In fact, it is quite noticeable in some sports that they are becoming more popular and competitive amongst the slightly more mature athletes, especially in endurance events. The ‘sprinting’ or more powerhouse sports will usually always be dominated by the more youthful individuals as their elasticity and ability to recover comes more naturally.

Much of the ’emergence’ of older athletes is perhaps as much of a realization that they have a passion for a sport, perhaps a little wiser these days and maybe a little more dedicated and driven. Many younger guys and gals in their early adulthood are simply unconcerned by the effects of any excesses and aren’t enthused to perhaps tap into any unreached potential they might have. For those younger athletes that do come to the ‘plate’, they are typically spotted and coached from a young age through schools and colleges, etc. Those whose talents and abilities aren’t spotted, all too often fall through the cracks and the unlocked potential is lost forever – or at least until a few years have passed them by and some level of maturity, changing goals, lifestyle, etc drives them to challenge themselves and apply themselves diligently toward their goal.

Whatever the lifestyle, whatever excesses we ask our bodies to go through with us, it’s a choice. Just as it is my choice to train and race. I’ve learned (read – still learning!) the hard way what my body will take, how to train harder or better, to allow recovery adaptions benefits to occur. I’ve spent hours and hours in physio for various ailments and maybe wouldn’t have needed to so much say 10 years ago, but years of effort, perhaps poor training and body genetics and mechanics constantly force me to evaluate how to do things more ‘effectively. Food and diet play a huge part in our lifestyles. It can make a huge difference in how we feel and recover. How often have your yearned for a healthy meal or two, to consume some fresh fruit and veg as your feeling lousy having spent a day or two eating poorly on fast food, greasy meals, etc? The nutrients we can take from many ingredients have a good deal many benefits and shouldn’t be ignored.

Each to their own, but age needn’t be a ‘boundary’, but looking after the body is something we should all consider.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-KuXbNGs29o

http://www.newsweek.com/photo/2010/11/11/senior-athletes.html

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