3 Key Fitness Tips for Former Athletes

3 Key Fitness Tips for Former Athletes

Health and Fitness

3 Key Fitness Tips for Former Athletes


High-level athletes tend to have incredible discipline and focus. You don’t end up playing a sport in college –– let alone professionally at any level –– without possessing talent, drive, and stamina. Yet, as former athletes get older, it can sometimes be difficult for them to stay in shape and maintain healthy habits. This is particularly true for people entering their 40s or 50s. The good news is that it’s never too late to start a new fitness program that will significantly boost your health and wellness. To that end, here are three key fitness tips that former athletes should always keep in mind:

Sep 7, 2020; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Tampa Bay Lighting center Alex Killorn (17) battles New York Islanders defenseman Andy Greene (4) for the puck while goalie Semyon Varlamov (40) guards the goal during the third period in game one of the Eastern Conference Final of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Set Reasonable Goals

Just because you were capable of running 10 miles a day in your early 20s, it doesn’t mean you should set that as a goal for yourself at age 42. Former athletes can sometimes feel discouraged about their fitness progress because they still haven’t adjusted their goals to their new situation. Instead of trying to recapture your former physical fitness level in a short span of time, set more reasonable goals that will allow you to work up to new milestones. Don’t try and compete with your “former self,” because that’s a battle everyone will eventually lose. 

Talk to Your Doctor

Some former athletes harbor injuries or medical conditions for years without realizing it. If you haven’t spoken with your doctor recently, then make it a point to schedule an appointment ASAP. Doctors will be able to diagnose and address certain conditions or medical issues that may be holding back your potential or causing you serious discomfort. For example, individuals who wore tight-fitting shoes for many years to play sports may be at risk for developing painful bunions. Thankfully, it’s possible for former athletes with bunions to contact medical pros at places like the Northwest Surgery Center to receive the treatment they need. 

Oct 23, 2020; Arlington, Texas, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Mookie Betts (50) steals second base against the Tampa Bay Rays during the fourth inning in game three of the 2020 World Series at Globe Life Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Emphasize Structure

Some former athletes may struggle to develop healthy habits after their playing days due to a simple lack of structure. Many athletes benefit from strict training and dietary routines that organizations or universities set up for them. If you’ve found it hard to stick to a diet or exercise program on your own, then consider adding more detail and structure to it. Hiring a personal trainer, setting up a home gym, signing up for a workout class, or finding a workout partner to keep you accountable are all great ways to bolster your fitness routine. When in doubt, don’t be afraid to call on others to help you get back on the right track.

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