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I saw an article come across my Facebook feed today titled, "Men Over 40 Should Think Twice Before Running Triathlons".

Here is a link to the article, I strongly recommend checking this out:
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-06-20/men-over-40-should-think-twice-before-running-triathlons.html 

With the growing popularity of endurance sports, particularly triathlons and marathons, I think it's important to consider what we need to do in order to be healthy, and what is too much in regards to training and competition.

Now, before you start calling me a hypocrite because I train some fairly extreme athletes, let me get one thing straight. There is a difference between training for health and training for competition. 

Training for health is to train the mind, body, and spirit (just as I discuss in my book "Abundant Health: Fitness for the Mind, Body, and Spirit" click here to check it out if you haven't yet) to bring balance to your life and promote longevity.

Training for competition is to be the best in your sport, to win, PERIOD.

There is a big difference to the training approach of an athlete and a general health client. As a professional it is my job to administer the correct training methods for each. I am not anti-training hard for competitors; I feel that you are here to allow your life experiences to unfold as you see fit. If you want to push the limits of the physical body and achieve greatness in sport, even if it means a shortened lifespan or living out the remainder of your life dealing with some sort of pain, that is your choice and the deal you make with yourself. 

I have certainly put my body through its share of physical strain in the past.

I feel the problem, as this article discusses, is the fact that so many middle-later age adults (men for the scope of this article) are participating in extreme physical challenges. Now-why are they doing this? 

It could be that as they are rounding the corner into the later stages of life they want to challenge themselves, maybe to make up for what they feel they might have missed in their younger days perhaps.

It could very well be that they have participated in physically demanding sports their whole lives and want to remain competitive, age be damned!

However, I think there is a significant portion of the population that gets involved in these events as a means of developing health and fitness. If this is the case they are going about it very wrong, and as the article states, this could potentially be a fatal decision for people.

Look, if you want to be competitive and push your body to the limit, that is your decision. Just be sure to train smart (periodize your training correctly and do not go "balls to the wall" all the time), be sure to give your body the necessary rest it needs to recover from grueling training sessions (when you are young you bounce back from almost anything, this changes as you roll into your 30's, 40's and so on), and be sure to eat a healthy diet providing the body with the necessary proteins, carbohydrates, essential fats, vitamins, minerals, and enzymes.

Most importantly, be honest with yourself - do you really want to excel in a competitive sport and push your body to it's limits? Or, are you simply wanting to become healthy and improve your quality of life. Neither option is wrong, as long as you are totally honest with yourself. When you can honestly answer that question then you can begin implementing the appropriate training strategies.

I think it is important to note, regardless of which path you choose, I think it is imperative to devote a significant portion of your time to developing mind, and spirit, "fitness"; in addition to physical development. For a highly competitive trainee devoting a portion of your time to the cultivation of energy (through exercise like Qigong) and other spiritual practices like meditation and yoga, will definitely go a long way in balancing out the extreme nature of the physical training that you must endure to excel at your chosen sport.

This makes the programming in my book, "Abundant Health: Fitness for the Mind, Body, and Spirit" appropriate for all levels of training.

Until next time, stay healthy!

-Scott

 


Comments

09/10/2015 06:07

It doesn't matter how old are you but it matters whether you do sport as for me. I admire people who can do exercise and different sport tricks after fifties. We can find many photos in the internet and at hospitals that promote health way of living. Of course, older people can't do the same volume and speed but many trained 60 and something years old ones can bet untrained 20 and something years old adults.

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