I always thought it was absurd when twenty-somethings complained about “getting old” and how their bodies were significantly changing as they aged. Don’t get me wrong, I am still a young, athletic twenty year old, but I can’t help but notice the nagging injuries, incessant soreness, and general fatigue are increasing as each season of my collegiate athletic career passes.
I will never forget a conversation I had with my senior captain my freshmen season as we sat in the athletic training room. She said, “Wait until you’re a senior and you’ll come to learn how much your body just breaks down”. I laughed and thought she was being a bit over dramatic. Now, just two years later, I completely understand her sentiment. I find myself with nagging injuries much more often. My legs constantly feel heavy and sore after enduring practices. My freshmen year my body seemed indestructible. How could two years really make that much of a difference?
This season alone I have had severe back tightness and soreness, hip flexor strains, my calves are constantly tight, and ankle pain. None of these issues were ever present before. I have done nothing different this season than year’s past, and in fact have become more conscious of my eating habits and stretching protocol. I have discusses my issue with other teammates and they all confirm they have realized the same thing in their own bodies.
One thing that I have noticed with this aging issue is I have suddenly needed to dramatically increase my water intake. I am constantly drinking water and hydrating myself and this is one of the only things that has proven to help my soreness issue. I have also grown to appreciate the pros of a healthier and more well balanced diet. I truly perform terribly and my body does not handle unhealthy food options as well as it once did.
If two seasons as a college athlete has had this much wear and tear on my body, how will I be feeling when I’m forty years old?