This article was written by Leigh Remedios, who is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Judo, Traditional Ju Jitsu and Tae Kwon Do. Leigh is a prolific competitor and has competed internationally in martial arts, including the UFC and Polaris. He has won several prestigious competitions, including the NAGA United Kingdom Grappling Championship belt and European IBJJF no-gi gold medals. Leigh runs a Jiu Jitsu and MMA Academy in Wiltshire, UK.
As a masters athlete (over 30), I get asked quite a lot about how I stay healthy and injury free. At 46, I’m certainly not ancient, but I have remained in relatively good shape compared to other people my age. Of course, I get niggles, and sometimes it’s more severe, but so far, I don’t have anything permanent.
I think there is clearly a genetic component to my ageing well, but I also age better than other members of my family. Here are some tips to help you remain healthy as you get older.
1) Don’t smoke, drink or use drugs.
2) Eat fruit and veg. You don’t have to be vegan/vegetarian, but you should eat plenty of fruit and vegetables. Your body has evolved over millions of years to process plant matter.
3) Do some form of cardio or, even better, play a sport. Add some mobility/stretching in, as well.
4) Do some strength/resistance work. I don’t go close to failure, but I do lift. I personally do a callisthenics-based workout, but you can choose any form of strength work that you like.
5) Don’t push yourself to breaking; the montages in the Rocky films are very motivational, but Rocky V shows the result of not knowing your limits. Consistency trumps intensity, and it is better to train a few times a week and have fun than to destroy yourself and feel burned out or maybe even injure yourself and be out of action for weeks or months. Additionally, know when to take time off or at least lower your intensity. Taking two weeks off now is better than being out for two months later.
6) Address your sleep. Matthew Walker is a popular advocate of sleep management, and his materials are really good. You can find videos on Youtube or buy his book. In a couple of decades, we will look back on the alarm clock/caffeine lifestyle and view it the same way we look back on smoking, working with asbestos, and other harmful practices that we discovered are terrible for your health.
These may seem obvious, but, surprisingly, most people don’t follow them. Even more surprisingly, quite a few people are genuinely shocked when I make these points and even argue with me in an attempt to justify their bad habits. Look, I’m not your dad, and you can do whatever you like, but these are pretty straightforward, and you can implement them immediately. I hope they’re helpful :)