Old athletes are old for many diverse reasons. But the primary one is due to their relatively slow rate of recovery following stressful workouts. Someone can be ‘old’ at age 35 due to a poor rate of recovery. In fact, recovery is probably the key to performance at all ages, but especially so for aging athletes who appear to have the deck stacked against them.
For the aging athlete training and lifestyle must adapt. Something has to change to maintain or even improve performance. Two of the most important in terms of recovery? Adequate sleep and proper nutrition.
1.) SLEEP: Younger athletes can make many mistakes in training and still perform at a high level. Aging athletes can’t. As we get older adequate sleep is especially important. Sleep regularity, quantity and quality are necessary to allow the body to cope with stress, for it’s during sleep that the body releases testosterone.
2.) NUTRITION: After sleep, the second most effective modality for improving recovery is nutrition. This means adequate macronutrients, especially carbohydrate and protein, in the recovery period immediately following a high-stress workout, and a micronutrient-dense (vitamins and minerals) diet for the remainder of the day.
Common Drug-Nutrient Interactions:
Many older athletes take at least one daily medication, often more. Certain foods can have a significant effect on medications such as diuretics, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) and lipid-lowering agents. Be sure to note the following:
Anxiety Medication – Don’t mix with grapefruit
Hypertensive Drugs – Avoid natural liquorice; Don’t mix with grapefruit
Statin Drugs – Avoid alcohol and grapefruit
Anti-Inflammatory/NSAIDS – Avoid highly acidic foods and alcohol
Oral Hypoglycemic Agents – Vitamin B12 absorption decreases; Avoid alcohol
Gastrointestinal Drugs – Vitamin B12 and iron absorption decreases; Avoid alcohol                                                                   
Diuretic Medications – Urine output and electrolyte excretion increases with these  drugs; dietary supplements may be needed to make up for losses.   
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