Take recovery seriously
If you thought the aches and pains of aging were bad before, they’re certainly not going to get any better after you start putting your body through the wringer. Expect soreness. And even more than expecting soreness, respect your body enough to manage that soreness.
Stretch after you exercise, invest in a foam roller to massage away your tightness, and give yourself a day or two after a tough game to recuperate. Now, don’t take that to mean you should spend all day on the couch. Active recovery -- walking, swimming, or moderate-intensity cycling -- can aid in recovery and help prepare you for your next big event.
I’m going to reference pro athletes again because, really, rec sports players are like the peewee version of professionals. While the talent is noticeably different, the game and prep work are essentially the same.
Pro athletes spend a couple hours a week competing when in season. They spend another eight to 12 hours a week practicing their sport and another five to 10 hours cross-training (if not more). That means strength training, speed work, agility, power, and flexibility training.
So it makes sense that the recreation player should aim for a peewee version of a pro’s program. If you’re spending an hour a week competing and one to two hours practicing, you should try adding another one to two hours per week of cross-training. It doesn’t need to be anything crazy -- maybe you take a yoga class or you add in a few 30-minute circuit workouts. The point is to enhance your sport performance and stay injury-free by improving your overall fitness.
Sign up here for our daily Thrillist email, and get your fix of the best in food/drink/fun.
Laura Williams is a 30-something exercise physiologist and fitness writer who is currently easing her way back into recreational sports. Follow her on Twitter @girlsgonesporty.