5 Laws for Masters Athletes

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by ALAN BISHOP

5 Laws for Masters Athletes
I’m now into my 4th decade as an athlete. Crazy to think it, but I have been actively “competing” in some form or another for the better part of all of my 43 years. At times I’ve competed at a world-class level and at others it’s been in those transformational moments when it’s just you against yourself (I love those moments).

Recently I’ve started to think of myself as a “Masters Athlete,” and that thinking has led to a ton of research on the subject. In my experience — as well as my research — I have come up with these 5 Laws for a Masters Athletes.

1) Age is just a number:

Work on your goats, and build up the areas where you are weak. It will pay off in the long run in your ability to “bend but not break.”
Whether its 35, 45, 55 or 95, our age is just that…a number. Don’t for a minute think that the number limits your ability to achieve. Just because you’re in the 45-50 age category, don’t limit yourself to that category. At times we get “comfortable” within predetermined spaces that others set for us. Yes, at times we need to be “grouped” together for ease of logistics, but that doesn’t mean that we have to mentally align within this group. The need to “act our age” went out the window when our parents took us to the “Fancy Restaurant” when we were 10.

Masters Athlets - Finished a workout2) Our bodies will break:

I will never forget the day when at 25 years old I went into an orthopedic surgeon’s office for a consult. After the initial exam and small talk, the surgeon looked at me and said, “Well, Alan, now that you’re 25, you’ve reached the point where you’ve lost 25% of your body’s natural ability to heal itself.” I was floored and that comment stuck with me for years…buried in my subconscious.

I’ve had to deal with many injuries over the years because I played HARD.

I also played like I thought I would never break… but as we all know, eventually we will.

As a younger athlete I never really understood what that meant, because (like all younger athletes) I was “unbreakable” — or at least I thought I was. Now, I value LIFE and what it has to offer me. I know what it’s like to spend MONTHS trying to regain the strength of one or more of my body parts that have been broken along my road. So the lesson is to understand your body — it’s really all you have. Work on your goats, and build up the areas where you are weak. It will pay off in the long run in your ability to “bend but not break.”

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