Top 6 Ways to Know You’re a Mature Athlete:
1) Age – There are many factors which influence your physical condition.
Some of these factors include; your body weight, height, blood pressure, cholesterol levels and other vital signs. These data can give you an idea about how old you really are.
However, it’s not enough just knowing your age. If you want to know if you have any health problems then there must be some tests done first.
2) Body Fat % – Your body fat percentage determines your overall health status.
It affects your ability to lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle. For example, if you have high body fat percentage then you will need to take steps to lower it or even gain weight before you can achieve good results.
3) Blood Pressure – High blood pressure is one of the most common diseases among adults and seniors alike.
It causes a number of health issues such as heart disease, stroke, kidney failure and diabetes. High blood pressure increases with age because your kidneys become less efficient at removing excess fluid from the body.
Therefore, your blood pressure rises.
4) Cholesterol Levels – Low cholesterol levels are another problem among older people and seniors alike.
Lowering them improves cardiovascular health and lowers the risk of developing cancer later in life. The good news is you can improve your cholesterol levels through a healthy diet, exercise and weight management.
5) Body Mass Index – Your body mass index or BMI determines whether you are underweight, normal weight, overweight or obese.
It is defined as your weight in kilograms divided by the square of your height in meters (kg/m2). For example, if you weigh 75 kilograms and you are 1.7 meters tall, your BMI is 75/(1.7*1.7) = 23.1, which is close to the overweight range.
6) Muscle Mass – Muscle mass naturally decreases as you age even if you’re physically fit. Nonetheless, building muscle mass can improve strength and balance, prevent falls and fractures, lift mood and self-esteem, and increase life expectancy.
In order to get a better understanding of what’s happening to your body as you age, it is important to regularly monitor the 6 metrics described above. Depending on your goals, you might decide to focus on certain metrics, for example you can increase your muscle mass by strength training and eating more food.
You can lower your cholesterol levels by sticking to a diet which is low in fat. You can also increase your body mass index if you want to by intentionally gaining weight. It is important to remember that as you age, some of these things become much more difficult to achieve because of diminishing physical and mental abilities.
The bottom line is the key to being a successful athlete is a positive mindset. It’s not an option, it’s a must if you want to achieve your goals.
Always remember that no matter how old you are or at what stage of life you’re in, as long as you have a positive mindset about yourself and life in general, anything is possible. Age is nothing but a number. You can still be successful regardless of your age. The only limitations you have are the ones that you place on yourself.
Part 3: Nutrition
Nutrition is one of the most important factors for staying healthy. Just like regular checkups are important to maintaining good health, a proper diet plays a key role in keeping your body functioning at its best.
Before we begin, I want to say that this is not a diet pamphlet and I am not going to tell you what to eat or not to eat. Rather, the information in this section will give you a better understanding of nutrition so you can make educated decisions about what foods are best for your body.
There are three main classes of nutrients: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Carbohydrates are one of the most important nutrient classes because they are a primary source of energy.
The majority of your daily caloric intake should come from carbohydrates. Carbs are found in grains, fruits, vegetables and dairy products.
There are two types of carbohydrates: simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates are found in foods such as fruit, milk, and yogurt.
These carbs break down quickly in your system, causing a quick rise in glucose (sugar) levels. Due to the quick digestion of these carbs, you should avoid consuming too many simple carbs if you have diabetes or problems with blood sugar regulation. Complex carbohydrates are starchy foods such as pasta, breads, and grains. Not only do these carbs break down more slowly than their simple counterparts, they contain fiber and essential minerals that are necessary for proper bodily function.
The Glycemic Index
The glycemic index is a scale that measures the effects of different carbs on blood sugar. Foods that break down quickly during digestion have a high glycemic index.
Those that break down more slowly have a lower glycemic index. Generally, simple carbs have a high glycemic index and are best avoided if you have problems with blood sugar.
Proteins are another class of nutrient that is essential for a healthy body. There are nine essential amino acids that you must get from the foods you eat since your body cannot produce these on its own, making proteins a vital part of any nutritious diet.
You can find proteins in meat, fish, poultry, beans, and dairy products.
Fats are the last major nutrient class and they are grouped as either saturated or unsaturated fats. Unsaturated fats are further classified as polyunsaturated or monounsaturated.
Unsaturated fats can help lower your cholesterol, reducing your risk of heart disease. They are commonly found in nuts, fish, and some plants oils. Saturated fats tend to raise your blood cholesterol levels and are commonly found in high quantities in foods such as red meat and high fat dairy products.
Many people who are trying to lose weight get rid of all the fat in their diet. While this can help you shed a few pounds, getting rid of fats completely is not a good idea.
Like all nutrients, your body needs certain fats to function properly so don’t avoid them completely. Instead, get most of your fats from vegetables oils, fish, and nuts and limit the amount of saturated fat you eat.
Water is another essential nutrient. Your body is made up of more than 70% water so you need to replenish the water loss on a daily basis.
If you don’t, you face the possibility of death by dehydration. Water is found in all types of food but some foods contain higher amounts of water than others. Melons, for example, contain over 90% water. Most fruits and vegetables also contain a fair amount of water. When considering what types of food to eat, make sure you are consuming a sufficient amount of water.
Water is also found in liquids such as juice and soda. While these types of beverages do have water, they do not contain enough to count as your daily fluid intake.
The only way to properly rehydrate yourself is to drink water. If you don’t like the taste of water or find it hard to consume the required amount each day, try adding a slice of lemon or some berries to give it flavor. Most people find this easier than drinking plain water.
The ingredients that make up the three main food groups are also the primary sources of energy for your body. The carbohydrates, proteins, and fats are broken down into simpler forms during digestion and absorbed into the bloodstream.
From there, the nutrients travel to the organs in your body that require them. Your heart, for example, doesn’t contract unless it receives nutrients from the blood.
As your body absorbs these nutrients, it discards whatever is left over. This unneeded material is eliminated from your body through urine, feces, sweat, and breath.
While food is important, it’s not the only source of energy for your body. There are many other sources such as solar energy and TV dinners.
Eating too much can lead to obesity and tooth decay but you will not die if you never eat at all.
Now that you’ve had a small lesson in nutrition, let’s find out how the types of food you eat can affect your health and life.
Sources & references used in this article:
Factors influencing the occurrence of flow state in elite athletes by SA Jackson – Journal of applied sport psychology, 1995 – Taylor & Francis
In the game: Gay athletes and the cult of masculinity by E Anderson – 2010 – books.google.com
Parental behaviors in team sports: How do female athletes want parents to behave? by CJ Knight, KC Neely, NL Holt – Journal of applied sport psychology, 2011 – Taylor & Francis
Integrated impression management in athletics: A qualitative study of how NCAA Division I athletics directors understand public relations by J Entine – 2008 – PublicAffairs
High school athletes’ perspectives on character development through sport participation by AN Pratt – International Journal of Sport …, 2013 – journals.humankinetics.com
Barriers and facilitators to mental health help-seeking for young elite athletes: a qualitative study by M Camiré, P Trudel – Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, 2010 – Taylor & Francis
The perceived effectiveness of interactions between expert French judo coaches and elite female athletes by A Gulliver, KM Griffiths, H Christensen – BMC psychiatry, 2012 – Springer