Being more athletic or moving better, should be a goal of every exercise program.
Especially as we age.
Moving better can be defined as simply as you would like. Simply to move better is a noble goal and important achievements as we age. To move without soreness is an extension to this, especially in mid-life or older.
So what can we learn about being more athletic or moving better?
A good place to start is to examine the habits of elite athletes, those who make their living by using their bodies as a tool to better performance.
Note: You may say, well, I am not athletic. Or I am not an athlete. I would respond by saying, you are not an athlete only if you don’t mind moving with discomfort and deteriorating rapidly as you age. Otherwise, having a purpose to move better as we get older, and slow down the physical decline of aging means you are an athlete.
It is all about mindset and perspective.
Want to move better = You are an athlete!!
What lessons can we draw from elite athletes in order to move better and be more athletic?
Here are the top 10:
- Their physical performance is their #1 priority.
- Athletes train, they don’t exercise. The difference is that athletes always have a goal, always are pursuing being better with every day. They don’t get to a workout without a purpose.
- They have a coach, many have multiple coaches. A coach helps them with assessment, with goal setting, with program design and progress. Typically, a coach understands the demands of the activity and, will assist in every aspect of performance. Athletes often have multiple support personnel, often including nutrition coaching, massage therapists, physiotherapists, and other professionals. A major breakthrough is that athletes now have this on their own, in addition to coaches form the organization or association for whom they perform.
- Preparation. Athletes prepare meticulously for every workout, every practice and every game. They prepare themselves in every way and have a purpose for everything they do.
- Practice. Practice leads to improvement, there is no other way. To move better in the athletic field, repetition is critical. Understanding what skills to practice are where coaching comes in. In most athletic competitions, balance, mobility, endurance, power and strength are keys to success.
- Nutrition. More and more athletes are educating themselves on proper nutrition and how it is critical to performance improvement.
- Commitment. There is do, or do not, there is no try. Yoda said this in Star Wars right? There is a commitment level to their craft and pursuit of improvement that is shared only by others who want to excel in their chosen field.
- Recovery. Like nutrition, recovery time, and methodology for better recovery is a critical component for ongoing successful performance.
- Simulate demands of game time. Training session’s years ago were not always in preparation for the demands of the activity. Today they are. Everything that top performing athletes do is related to better performance. Big, tough hockey players, for example, do yoga as a means to improving their performance.
- Routine. Athletes are passionate about their routines. What they eat, when they eat, regular training times, recovery times and anything related to performance is mapped out , and becomes a habit.
We can learn a lot from athletes.
Much of what they do, we can benefit from. As we age, or want to include more activity into our lifestyles, we would be well served to identify the lessons we can take from athletes.
What goals can you set?
How do you prepare?
Who can you get to professionally assess where you are at, and help you with program design?
How do you recover?
What about nutrition?
What is your commitment level to improving? (Unlike athletes you don’t need hours of training time per day).
And oh yeah, when can we have a cheat day to eat some sweets and pizza and have an adult beverage? Ok, maybe that is tip 11. But it has a place if everything else is in place!