Age Ain't Nothing But A Number
“Every man desires to live long, but no man wishes to be old.” ― Jonathan Swift
And yet here we are, well, for some of us at least. As Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) continues to gain popularity and attract younger practitioners, it's important not to forget about the older generation of practitioners. For older BJJ practitioners, there are certain precautions and modifications that need to be made in order to continue training safely and effectively. We will explore some tips on how to train, what to focus on, and what precautions to take.
1. Focus on Mobility and Flexibility
Our bodies naturally become less flexible and mobile as we grow older. This can make certain BJJ techniques more difficult to perform, and increase the risk of injury. Older practitioners should make a conscious effort to maintain and improve their mobility and flexibility through stretching, yoga, and other exercises that promote a range of motion. This will not only improve their BJJ technique but also reduce the risk of injury.
2. Emphasize Technique Over Strength
As we age, our strength and endurance naturally decline. However, this doesn't mean that older BJJ practitioners can't be effective on the mats. In fact, older practitioners can actually benefit from focusing more on technique over strength. This means using leverage, timing, and proper technique to overcome opponents, rather than relying on brute force. Spend time drilling your fundamentals, and work on perfecting your technique.
3. Train Consistently, But Listen to Your Body
Consistent training is important for any BJJ practitioner, regardless of age. However, older practitioners need to be especially mindful of their bodies and any limitations they may have. This means being mindful of any aches or pains and not pushing themselves too hard. It's important to strike a balance between consistent training and giving your body the rest it needs.
4. Modify Your Training When Necessary
Older BJJ practitioners may need to modify their training to reduce the risk of injury. For example, older practitioners may need to avoid certain techniques that put more strain on the joints or modify their training intensity to avoid overexertion.
5. Focus on Recovery and Injury Prevention
Recovery and injury prevention are critical for older BJJ practitioners. This means taking time to stretch before and after training, getting enough sleep, and fuelling your body with the right nutrients. Additionally, older practitioners may benefit from regular visits to a chiropractor or physical therapist to address any imbalances or injuries.
6. Warm-Up and Cool Down Properly
As we age, our bodies become less flexible, and we need to take extra precautions to avoid injury. Before training, it's essential to spend some time warming up to get your blood flowing and your muscles ready for action. Simple exercises like jumping jacks, pushups, and light jogging can help prepare your body for training. After training, take some time to cool down and stretch. This can help prevent soreness and stiffness, and it's a great opportunity to focus on your flexibility.
7. Train Smart
It is essential to train smart and avoid unnecessary risks. This means being selective about your training partners and avoiding those who are much younger or much bigger than you. It also means tapping early and often to avoid injury and being mindful of your body's limitations.
8. Embrace Cross-Training
BJJ can be hard on the body, it's important to take care of ourselves. Cross-training can help you stay fit and healthy while reducing the risk of injury. Consider adding activities like yoga, swimming, or weight lifting to your routine to build strength and flexibility.
9. Take Care of Your Body
As an older BJJ practitioner, it's important to take care of your body outside of training. Eating a healthy diet, staying hydrated, and getting enough rest is essential for maintaining your health and performance. It's also important to seek medical attention if you experience any injuries or health concerns.
See you on the mats!