The average NBA career is less than five years. For professional football players, it’s even shorter, a little over three. The reasons are plenty. Both football and basketball are competitive sports requiring supreme athletic ability, a high IQ, good timing, and luck. No matter how talented you are out of college or high school, skills diminish over time and many athletes suffer catastrophic career-ending injuries.
So how come Lebron James is already 35 and playing at an MVP level in his 17th season in the league? What about 43-year old Tom Brady, a man who’s played over 20 years in one of the most demanding positions in sports? Michael Jordan retired twice, came back, and averaged over 20 points per game as a 41-year-old.
Are these and a few other exceptions to the rule? Are they uniquely gifted physical specimens? Is it something all men can aim for? The answer to all three questions is yes. Lebron James, Tom Brady, and Michael Jordan are indeed exceptional. But that doesn’t mean the average man in his forties cannot be.
Whether you are rich or poor, a superstar athlete or a regular Joe, you can also stay fit, strong, and energetic well past your forties and fifties. All it requires is the right mentality, proper nutrition, and an age-appropriate workout and recovery routine.
The Power of the Mind
American comedian George Burns once said, “you can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to get old.” How you feel about yourself can be your greatest ally or your biggest enemy. Studies show that negativity can indeed affect our physical health, sometimes even leading to a shorter lifespan.
So be quirky, be adventurous, be brave, be you—no matter whether you are 25 or 45. If you are still single, put yourself out there, be open to meeting someone new. If you’re married or in a relationship, plan a date for your special girl, take her to a romantic restaurant, light some candles at home, look into gainswave. Staying young and happy is a state of mind, not something governed by your birth certificate or the number of gray hairs on your head.
The Importance of Proper Nutrition
Proper nutrition is understanding that with age come different eating habits. If you like junk food, then eat it, just not every day. As you get older, food is not only a way to curve hunger or cravings. It is a source of fuel. Try incorporating more fiber, lean protein, fruits, and vegetables into your diet. Eat fewer carbohydrates, fats, and red meat. The important thing is not cutting everything but rather finding harmony in the food choices you make, finding a balance.
Other tips include avoiding foods that make you bloated, finding healthy alternatives for snacks, and not jumping into the latest fad diet. They are not maintainable and, quite frankly, don’t work.
Age-appropriate Exercise and Recovery
As you get older, focus less on exercise and more on recovery. You can still do explosive, HIIT training in moderation. But also do some LISS and integrate a post-workout routine. Above all, remember that doing exercise is a way to feel better, lose those extra unwanted pounds, and remain functional. By going too hard too often, you risk getting injured. Plus, you will feel exhausted all the time, which makes working out counterproductive.
You cannot do exactly what you did when you were in your twenties or thirties. It doesn’t have to be completely different either. Be open to experimentation and tweaking. Listen to your body and be honest with yourself and your expectations.
Getting old is not something you should dread but rather look forward to and enjoy. By staying positive, following an adequate nutrition program, and engaging in age-appropriate exercise and recovery, you too can be like Lebron, Brady, or Jordan, no matter how old you are.