There is No Fitness Expiration Date.

Masters athletes often share stories about how they are told to “grow up and act your age” by neighbors, friends and doctors who both marvel at an aging athlete’s youthful zeal and shake their heads in wonder.

But this often leaves us shaking our heads! Masters athletes are acting their age!  There is no expiration date on fitness. Our amazing bodies will continue to respond to training by transforming, right down to the cellular level, no matter what our age.  The key is to be smart about how you train so F.A.C.E. your future in the New Year! There is no better time than now!

F.A.C.E. Your Future.

As an orthopaedic surgeon, Dr. Vonda Wright encourages patients to F.A.C.E their future.  F.A.C.E. is an acronym to remind you of the 4 key components you need to improve your athletic performance and avoid injury.

  • F- flexibility
  • A-aerobic exercise
  • C- carrying a load
  • E-equilibrium.

Everyone understands A. (aerobic exercise) but most people, including seasoned athletes, neglect one or all of the other F.A.C.E. components.

As an example, let’s examine Bill, a long and lean masters runner. You can see the tight muscles and sinew under Bill’s skin at first glance. Bill is turning 50 this year and he has clear goals. He wants to finish a 5k in 16 minutes. Like many masters athletes, Bill is plagued by recurrent minor injuries that prevent progress.  Bill’s muscles and joints are tight, his buttocks and core are weak and his balance and agility have been neglected.  All Bill has done is improve his run, not his overall physical health. Bill was not F.A.C.E.-ing his future.

Incorporate all 4 Components of F.A.C.E. into You Training.

F-flexibility: Focused dynamic stretching of every major muscle group daily. Hold each stretch for a full 30 seconds and repeat 4 times to stretch muscles and tendons out to their optimal performance length.

A-aerobic exercise: Challenge your heart and lungs intensely every other day. Mix up your training methods to prevent overuse injury.

C-carry a load:  Resistance training through a functional range of motion is a must for the master.  3-5 times a week.  Use your own body weight or bands if iron doesn’t appeal to you.

E-equilibrium:  Our balance deteriorates rapidly with age but with a little daily work, you can retrained your body to keep you upright on the roads or trails with a little daily work.

For our example, Bill the runner, F.A.C.E-ing the future means focusing on hip and leg F-flexibility.  This allows his muscles to operate at an optimum performance length but also increase his hip and knee range of motion which will lengthen his stride and increase his speed while preventing muscle tears. It would also be a good idea for Bill to mix up his A-aerobic training with some spinning.  This is an amazing way to get a great cardio workout. Plus, spinning improves your buttock strength while training your mind and legs to increase your leg turnover for a faster run. To C-carry a load, Bill should work on his core and buttock strength with dynamic resistance training so that his legs would have a stronger foundation to propel him forward. Finally, Bill needs to spend a little bit of time each day on E-equilibrium. All he needs to do is stand in a safe place on one leg for 30 seconds.

Age does not disqualify you from reaching your goals. By F.A.C.E-ing your future, you can transform your body from the inside out while minimizing injury.  Act your age!

For more information about your future, read Fitness After 40: Your STRONG Body at 40, 50, 60 and Beyond!