Most athletes experience an age known as the “sweet spot”. This period is a combination of physical strength, technical and strategic abilities. In most sports, it falls mostly between the mid 20’s and early 30’s.
However, in most sports, there have been stories of athletes winning medals when they are even 50 years old. For instance, Chris Horner won the 2013 edition of Vuelta an Espana at 42 years. Another example is Constantina Dita Tomescu who competed in the Beijing Olympics. She became the oldest Olympic marathon winner at the age of 38 years.
So, what is the new peak age for sports athletes? Why are the athletes of today continuing to break the age barriers so successfully? Till what age can you successfully make a career in sports? We will take a look at some of these below.
The Mantra to Success in Sports
Achieving a high level of performance requires high levels of sustainability. Therefore as one gets older, it becomes difficult to stay in shape like during your peak years.
Different sports require different levels of strengths and agility. So, age becomes a big factor for athletes to carry on normally. For instance, swimming is strenuous to the muscles, and it is very competitive compared to the shooting.
The peak age for men is mostly 26 years while for women it is 25 years. This one year difference can be attributed to the fact that women develop earlier than men. The gender aspect does matter. In the long run, women will, therefore, tend to get hit their athletic prime earlier.
How Important are Physical Sports?
It all depends on what sport you are into. For instance, in many sports, you could go on to play till you are 40.
In some sports, physical strength does play a big factor in athletes having a successful career during old age. For example, athletes who participate in horse-related sports can be successful at old ages. Canadian Horse jumping athlete Ian Miller won his silver medal during the Beijing Olympics at 60 years old.
However, sports such as athletics and swimming require a huge amount of physical strength. For example, the peak age for athletes is 25 years while for swimmers is 22 years. This means that swimmers will tend to retire early, as compared to athletes.
A lot of people assume that different countries are endowed with athletes that are good in particular sports. For instance, the average peaking age of a footballer in Ghana is 22 years. This means that they mature at a very young age.
Athletes are bound to lose when it comes to performance as they age. However, with better training and recovery practices, athletes can surpass their retirement age.
Workouts need to change with age. Instead of working hard they should be working smart. However physical changes are not the only hindrance that comes with age. People lack the motivation to work out as they age.
Intrinsic motivation can help them set personal records.