The question of sports after the age of 40 arises mainly for people who want to start or restart sports practice after years of interruption. Faced with age and being overweight, people in their forties are often caught up in sports madness without realizing that their body no longer has the same resistance to effort and trauma. Continuing the sport after 40 years requires certain precautions.
The notion of real age
Over the years, playing sports has become less and less easy, performance is declining, and so is capacity. Age is a term that is difficult to define precisely. In fact, there are several definitions of age, the date of birth gives only an administrative indication.
Biological age is the one represented by the body, taking as a criterion the functioning of its organs. This age depends on genetic factors, but also on the way of life: professional activities, high-level sports, extreme living conditions, smoking, etc.
The psychological age corresponds to the image that a person may have of himself. It takes into account her ability to adapt, her experience, her maturity of mind and the way she projects herself into the future.
Social age depends on the cultural norms of society and may vary depending on the point of view. A 35-year-old woman can be considered a young worker and a fairly old mother at the same time if she has just had her first child.
In the context of sports, all these concepts come into consideration.
Biological age is the first element that should be taken into account because the organs that are most sensitive to the effects of biological age are those required by sports: heart, blood vessels, skeleton, muscles, joints, eyes, etc.
Psychological age is also taken into account: a person who has difficulty remembering complex gestures will find it harder to play very technical sports when his biological age allows it.
Finally, social age may come into play. A 25-year-old woman, flexible and energetic, can reasonably decide to start rhythmic and sports gymnastics. However, her teenage teammates will probably see her as an “old woman”!
The age of the athlete’s life
Even if the concept of age is relative, there is a correlation between biological age and physical ability. However, these are average values and, in old age, abilities can vary significantly from individual to individual. Some people will always look younger for longer.
From 18 to 30 years: early adulthood athletes
At this age, untrained adults are at their maximum physical potential. For top athletes, this is the era of the highest performance. During this period, all sports activities are possible for an individual, unless they are explicitly contraindicated.
30 to 45 years: average adult age athletes
In sedentary people, motor coordination and maximum speed are reduced. Endurance and muscle strength are still well preserved. Athletes generally see that their performance is maintained. Around the age of 40, it is generally advisable to stop high-level sports and sports that are incompatible with the attacks of old age that are beginning to be felt (ice hockey, for example). The athlete must adapt his training to his new abilities, which are very different depending on the individual.
45 to 65 years: advanced adult athletes
The physical qualities of untrained people continue to decline, including strength. In people who maintain physical activity, the effect begins to decline significantly.
During this period, you can fully engage in sports, but you must be very careful about the specific abilities of each person. Training will be more focused on endurance or maintenance sports.
After 65: late adulthood of the athlete
The reduction in motor performance is clear. At this age, the training of long-term athletes can continue, taking into account the development of their abilities. However, the discipline and intensity of the exercise must be adjusted. During this period, it is possible to start physical activity, but with appropriate exercises and increased supervision.