Athleticism As You Age – Tips and Tricks


Athletes of all ages want to maintain what they’ve trained hard for, including strength, mobility, flexibility, or endurance.

While training can become more challenging once we pass a certain age, athletic seniors can maintain their physical fitness and strength in several ways. Contrary to popular belief, it’s never too late to be an athlete. While training for the Olympics or high-level sports may not be the goal, that doesn’t mean you can’t be in good, healthy shape in later years. 

This article will examine how athletic seniors can maintain physical fitness and even train for new activities they may want to try. 

Important note: Take precautions and always consult your doctor or healthcare professional before adding new exercises to your fitness routine. Your health is important, so make sure you are attempting all training in a safe environment. 


How does age change our bodies?


Age, among other things, can affect the way our bodies function. As we age, our bodies need tender, loving care to keep them at their best. Below are some ways our muscles, bones and joints change as we age.


Bones and muscles


Bone density decreases over time, making bones more prone to injury. Age also affects how our muscles move, grow and heal. Our muscles are made up of fibres; with time, these fibres decrease in number, resulting in lower density. 

Lower density in bones and muscles often decreases flexibility, power, and strength. Despite this, both issues can be combated with proper diet and regular exercise. 


Longer recovery time 


As we age, our bodies and muscles often require more time to recover between workouts. Due to lower bone and muscle density, delayed onset muscle soreness (the achy feeling in your muscles a day or two after a workout) is more likely. This soreness is caused by small microtears formed in the muscle tissue, which your body works to repair with proteins. 

Recovery time also refers to the muscle-building process in the event of injury. Because of the added potential for injury, older athletes are encouraged to ease into new workouts, take necessary breaks and recommended supplements, and hydrate to prevent the risk of injury.  


More responsibilities, less time 


While this factor isn’t technically physiological, it’s a valid reason why many older athletes cannot devote as much time to training as they would like. Oftentimes the older we get, the more responsibility we have on our plates. 

A full-time job, a spouse, kids, grandkids, home responsibilities etc., are just a few things adults look after that teens and 20-year-olds may not yet have to manage. That said, it’s still very possible to find time to exercise. As the famous saying goes: where there’s a will, there’s a way! 


Does age matter when training for a sport? 


Sports and fitness training have been shown to have significant health benefits, including improved strength, coordination, memory and cognitive function, mobility and more. Often many older athletes wonder if their age will hinder their success. The best answer? It depends on the sport. 

Sports like gymnastics and figure skating may be a bit more challenging to start as an older athlete, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t aspects of those sports that can be incorporated into regular exercise! 

Studies have shown that skill and precision sports, such as archery or sailing, tend to have more variety in the age of athletes. 

Remember that regardless of sport or age, it’s always important to put safety first. 


Senior athletes training – 5 tips for success 


Always consult your healthcare provider before trying a new training regimen or changing your existing one. Your doctor can help you determine which exercises will be best for your health and lifestyle.

Continue reading for more tips on training successfully as an older adult. 


1. Consider yourself an athlete! 


Many times when working out, mindset is the thing that will either stop us or keep us going. For senior athletes, training may not feel like it did when you were in your 20s, but it doesn’t mean you’re not an athlete! 

The dictionary definition of an athlete is trained or skilled in exercises requiring strength, stamina, and agility. So if you go for regular walks or runs, do other exercises, or stretch to care for your body, you’re an athlete! 


2. Make achievable goals.


Consider where you’re starting from, as this can impact the types of exercises that will benefit your body. Were you a high-performance athlete, a lifetime recreational athlete, or are you just starting? 


Depending on the level of athleticism required, former athletes may have increased mobility and strength to work with. However, even if you never played sports but are deciding to pick up exercise now, there are definite benefits to doing so. 


When setting goals, think about what you want to achieve. Your desired achievements could be a mixture of new fitness goals or maintaining previous ones. Do you want better balance or flexibility, strength, coordination, and stamina? Choose something to work towards and make it measurable. 


3. Get a trainer or workout buddy.


Working out is always easier when there’s someone there to encourage you. Find a workout buddy. Athletic seniors are encouraged to find a workout buddy to help push their limits safely. A training partner can also help spot if needed, making the overall workout much safer and more fun. 


A trainer is always a great idea. A qualified trainer can help determine what workouts best suit your body and needs. They can help you achieve your fitness goals safely. 


4. Work smarter, not harder.


Athletes of all ages, especially older ones, are encouraged to train smarter for their bodies, not harder. Working smarter means taking the proper time to warm up and stretch, staying hydrated and participating in the right types of training.


Athletic seniors are encouraged to focus on the quality of their workouts rather than the quantity or duration. 


5. Include resistance and load-bearing exercises. 


Again, it is essential to always consult your doctor before attempting any exercise regimen.  

All resistance training or “load-bearing” means is challenging your muscles. Muscles only get stronger when they are challenged. Body-weight exercises, resistance bands and free weights can all be considered for this type of training. 

Here are some exercises you can try, split up according to muscle group: 

**Do not attempt these exercises alone if you are attempting them for the first time.**

Upper body: 

  • Bicep curls (no weight, band or free weight) 
  • Front and lateral arm raises (no weight, band or free weight) 
  • Shoulder rolls 

Trunk and core:  

  • Knee raises 
  • Curl ups 
  • Bridges 

Lower body: 

  • Walking (brisk or power walking)
  • Lunges 
  • Sit to stand 
  • Ankle circles 
  • Calf raises 




Our bodies change as we age, and that’s nothing to be ashamed of. Seniors are encouraged to adapt and grow with these changes to care for their health and well-being properly. Athleticism is as much for older people as for those of any age. After all, setting new goals to achieve and attempting new challenges to overcome is what sports is all about! 

At Seasons Retirement, we’re committed to fostering and encouraging a healthy lifestyle for our residents. If you would like to know more about us, contact us today. 

Discover Life at Seasons. Book a Personal Visit Today.