I’d always heard how the older you get the faster time goes. That youth is wasted on the young. That football is a young man’s game. That time waits for no man. And that there’s nothing in this game for two in a bed (Bullseye circa 1986). And so as the years have passed I began to notice that my body didn’t recover as quickly as it used to. That training and playing regular football meant I spent more time with aches and pains than without. I started to get used to rising in the morning and grimacing as I got out of bed before my legs started working. I accepted that playing football meant having niggling injuries in my ankles, groin, thighs, hamstrings and a host of other body parts. I kept saying “one more year and I’ll hang up my boots”. Time was marching on.
My good lady hurt her knee and went to a local physio to get it sorted out. It turned out I have medical cover with work so she got her sessions paid for. Sick of hearing me moan about being stiff and sore she suggested I get a sports massage to loosen off these tired legs and booked me in. I’d been warned that if they found anything wrong they wouldn’t be able to help themselves trying to sort it out. I sort of imagined a relaxing, sensual massage where I’d walk out feeling loose and on top of the world. Instead what began was a series of fabulously painful sessions where I discovered just how much physical pain one woman (my physio) can cause. Remind me never to fall out with a physio.
Much to my surprise everything was wrong! Pretty much all the muscles in my body were as stiff as a board. My flexibility was non-existent. My posture was terrible for many reasons including the muscles on the left side of my body were even tighter than the right. Joints barely moved and I was only going to get worse the older I got. Things had to change.
So each week my physio would work on a particular area of my body then give me a list of stretching exercises to try in an effort to loosen things off and increase my flexibility. Gradually, week by week I noticed things starting to improve. I could move in ways I couldn’t before (and hadn’t even noticed that I couldn’t). I wasn’t feeling stiff and sore after playing football any longer. I was waking up without any pain at all. Suddenly I started to feel years younger and realise that old age wasn’t getting to me just yet!
And since I’m relentlessly (or tediously) disciplined I’ve continued doing about 20-25 minutes of stretching every night and continue to get more flexible. I feel years younger and realise if I keep up the regimen (which I will) I should be able to extend my sporting days many years further than I thought I would. So if you’re in your mid-30s wondering how long you can keep on being active – get yourself down to your nearest sports physio. You won’t regret it!
Next on my list is finding a way to get rid of all these wrinkles… 😉