The biggest risk a football player faces is injured knees. Many rising careers in the sport have been cut short due to kneecap or ACL injuries. Tennis players face the risk of injury and permanent damage in the arm joints. Weightlifters and racecar drivers face the risk of horribly degenerated vertebral discs post their active sports career. However, athletes are not the only ones who worry about leading a fit and healthy life, everyone else does too. That’s probably the reason why anti-ageing products and services fetched $282 billion around the world in 2015, and are expected to cross $330 billion by 2020.
Lifespan vs. healthspan
A study has found that lack of exercise is one of the major causes of chronic ailments in the human body. On the field, a sports person uses cardiovascular, respiratory, neuromuscular, and cognitive systems of the body individually as well as a system. As a result, athletes are the most ideal candidates to test the optimal working conditions for the mind, the body, and their interdependence. Take the example of 85-year old Hiroo Tanaka of Japan who clocked 15.19 seconds in 100-meter sprint at the World Masters Athletes on July 31, 2016.
Instead of experiencing a peak in physical performance in their 30s and an inexorable decline thereafter, athletes like Tanaka who maintain an active lifestyle are also able to maintain their close to peak performance for a longer period than average people.
So, what can you do?
Movement is the only medicine you need. Physical activity improves the function of the body and brain, reducing the risks associated with a sedentary lifestyle like cardiovascular disease, metabolic and psychological disorders, anxiety and stress, and helps improve cognitive functioning. However, if you’re still not clear about how that works for you, here are a few tips from athletes that can help you improve your healthspan, and ultimately, your productivity.
Regular exercise is the key
There really is no substitute for regular exercise. Not only does it help you stay physically active, regular workout is an excellent way to relieve stress and stay positive at all times. Athletes enjoy their workout. It’s not about being excited for running or lifting weights, it’s about valuing their fitness over everything else.
Stay in the company of active people
Fitness isn’t just about what you eat, it also has a lot to do with who you eat with. Athletes prefer the company of likeminded people who prefer to hiking or ride a bike instead of sitting at a restaurant eating fast food.
Don’t worry about eating right all the time
Athletes never go on a diet. Not only that, they allow themselves at least one cheat-day once in a while. For them, it’s all about balance in life. The cheat-day helps ensure that the balance between fitness and sanity remains intact and nothing comes in the way of that.
Take a weekly break from workouts
Athletes are acutely aware of their body’s need to rest, and they never feel guilty about allowing themselves to do that. They ensure that they get plenty of rest, and even take a weekly day off from their regular workout to ensure that it happens as planned.
Athletes aren’t made of something different than the rest of us. The only difference between an athlete and others is that they possess the willpower and the motivation to prioritize their fitness over everything else. Everyone gets old, even the athletes, but this motivation is what ultimately shows in their performance, and offers the rest of us a few lessons in staying fit and enjoy our work to the fullest.