As some of you may know it was my birthday this month. However some of you may not know that I am one of older members of the CFNH team. Being an older athlete certainly comes with some challenges. My sporting pursuits have always been high impact which over the years has certainly taken its toll on the joints and general wear and tear on the body. Since beginning CrossFit 4 years ago I have been exposed to many innovative mobility exercises. The sport of CrossFit and the community involved tend to think outside the box and are always coming up with new ways to help athletes to move better, perform to the best of their ability and maintain it.
Mobility and smart training is paramount towards remaining injury free, especially as an older athlete. Some key aspects are
- Listen to your body and rest if you are too sore. If you can’t get up off the toilet seat then that is a good indication you should take a day off training.
- Always warm up sufficiently as it may reduce tissue susceptibility to injury by increasing muscle extensibility. This may mean you need to come in 10mins before a WOD and jump on a rower or do extra warm up sets for the strength component.
- Always cool down as it decreases HR, BP and respiration rate. It also assists in dissipation of body heat and promotes the removal of lactate acid. Cool down is recommended to be double the time of the WOD. However most of us don’t have that liberty so a light jog or row for 5-10mins is sufficient.
- Flexibility is the range of motion possible about a joint. Inactivity or inappropriate activity is the most common cause of inflexibility. A lack of flexibility predisposes people to injuries. The stretching or mobility we do pre and post WOD is minimal due to time constraints. Therefore athletes must be accountable for their own actions and be proactive in this area. I highly recommend Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) with a band to stretch the hamstrings, adductors and abductors.
- Self massage can assist with sore or niggly muscles. The foam rollers are great for the larger muscle groups and the lacrosse balls are perfect for the hard to reach trigger point areas. The Olympic bars are also great for rolling down the larger muscle groups however they can apply greater pressure so be prepared.
- ROMWOD is also a great alternative if your time is limited at the box as it can be done in the comfort of your own home.
Some natural remedies for joint health can also be beneficial. Products such as fish oil or Goji berries act as natural anti-inflammatory. However nothing beats a well balanced clean healthy diet.
For further advice on flexibility or mobility exercises ask one of the CFNH team to assist.