Is playing a sport considered a workout for men over 40? Is it a good idea?
What about Basketball? Lacrosse? Baseball? Football? Wrestling? Should a guy over 40 be participating in contact sports?
Of course, you know my answer. HELL YES!
Ask any guy who plays a sport and has been for many years. They most likely love the sport and know that it has great benefits for them. They know their entire health, mental and physical being would suffer if they stopped because someone told them they were too old to play anymore.
Deep down they know the benefits they gain from staying active as they age, even if the guys at the office make fun of them when they come into the office carrying an ice pack on Monday morning.
Let’s look at the details.
PROS and CONS
There are all kinds of health benefits, like keeping your weight under control and keeping good cardiovascular health and then there’s the psychological benefit of exercising regularly and the social aspect of being part of a team.The pluses in my opinion far, far, far outweigh the risks.
If you haven’t been playing your sport continuously for many years, then there are some things you should do before you jump back in.
First, you should take a month or two to build up a fitness base again before attempting to compete.
You should also get a physical and see if there’s anything you need to know about your physical condition before you participate in active sports.
Try the following 7-exercise workout before you start back, especially if you’ve been out of it for several years. Primarily you’ll want to do some stretching and some foam rolling.
The primary thing you want to do before you get back in is to strengthen your core and establish your stability and balance. You don’t need to weight lift, just strengthen and stabilize your entire body.
Do these exercises twice a week for a month before you dive into playing a contact or active sports. There are seven (7) that you should do during each workout (twice a week is suggested). If you want to weight train other days, that’s fine. These are designed to get your body ready for an active sports.
- Hold a barbell loaded with 5-10lbs on each side and kneel on the floor.
- Now place the barbell on the floor in front of you so that you are on all your hands and knees.
- Slowly roll the barbell straight forward, stretching your body into a straight position. Go down as far as you can without touching the floor with your body.
- After a pause in the stretched position, start pulling yourself back to the starting position. Go slowly and keep your abs tight at all times.
- Lie flat on the floor your hands by your side and your knees bent. Your feet should be placed around shoulder width.
- Pushing mainly with your heels, lift your hips off the floor while keeping your back straight. Hold at the top for a second.
- Slowly go back to the starting position.
- Lie on your left side with your knees straight. Prop your body up on your left elbow and forearm. Either place your right arm by your side or you can raise your right hand until it’s perpendicular to your torso, so you form a T.
- Contract your core by squeezing in your abs forcefully.
- Raise your hips until your body forms a straight line from your ankles to your shoulders.
- Hold this position.
- Start with 30 seconds and then add 15 second each workout until you get to 2-3 minutes. The longer the better.
You can also do it on your right side. In fact, it’s advisable to do both. Do the left side on Tuesday and the right side on Thursday
Belly Button Suck-In
- Knees and hands on the floor. It’s important that your back stays curved to facilitate the vacuum.
- Blow out all the air from your lungs, squeeze your diaphragm
- Suck your belly in.
- Use your diaphragm to suck in your belly very tight. Try to get your belly button to touch your spine, not really but that’s the idea.
- Hold for about 10 seconds
- Release and repeat at least 10 times
This is a great workout for your abs. It’s not that well-known and some people think it’s silly, but it really works. If you do this over a period of time and get your body fat down, you’ll have a six pack.
Bosu Ball Push Ups
- Get on the floor with your body straight supporting your upper body with a wide grip on the flat side of the Bosu ball.
- Start by flexing the elbows lowering your torso. Do not allow your hips to rise or to sag.
- Pause at the bottom, and then extend the elbows to return to the starting position.
It’s that simple, but this will engage more muscles than a normal push up and will also force you to use core muscles to stabilize yourself.
Balance on a Bosu Ball
- You might want to have a chair or wall to hold onto as you get used to the movement.
- Step both feet onto the dome, placing them on either side of the bull’s eye.
- By simply standing, you’ll feel your feet moving and your torso contracting in order to find your balance.
- Add difficulty by letting go of the chair, raising the arms overhead or closing your eyes.
Participating in sports as a guy over 40 is a GREAT idea.
It’ll keep you young and vibrant, extend your life, keep your cardiovascular system in tip-top shape and let you have fun while getting a good workout.
Even activities like CrossFit and boot camps are a great way to be active, if you don’t play a sports. I’ve done boot camps for years, and love the exercise and camaraderie you develop with your fellow boot campers. It’s a great way to get or stay in shape without thinking about it as “exercise.”
Before you dive in, if you haven’t been continuously playing, use the 7 exercises above to get yourself in shape so you don’t injure yourself. Injuries are more common as you get older, but they don’t have to be if you’ve gotten yourself in great shape.
Go sign up for that weekend football, soccer, lacrosse or basketball league. You’ll be glad you did.