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If you’ve been practicing mixed martial arts for a while, or are just a beginner, you might wonder which age is optimum and how long you can compete. Mixed martial arts, or MMA, is a combat sport using one or more martial arts to overcome your opponent. Although prime competition age is 30 or younger, you can still compete at any age. Here are several tips for keeping you in the cage as long as possible.
Keep a Busy Training Schedule
Practicing mixed martial arts requires a lot of stability and that means plenty of training. Keeping a busy and varied schedule is key to staying flexible and agile. You must perform strength work, aerobics, and endurance exercises each week along with sparring, wrestling, Jiu-Jitsu, or a combination of the martial arts you prefer. You can benefit by formulating a month-long schedule ahead of time, but don’t forget to pencil in rest days.
Make Nutrition a Priority
Along with training, nutrition must be a priority to keep you competing with MMA at any age. Make sure you get plenty of fruits, vegetables, greens, and lean meats. Keep carbs to a minimum unless you’re an hour or so before training or competition. Many fighters benefit from using protein shakes, supplements, and even nutritional patches like the ones you can read about in Le-vel Thrive reviews. Remember, your body is a powerful fighting machine and it needs to be fueled in the healthiest way possible.
Don’t Let Safety Slide
It might sound counterintuitive to be concerned about safety when martial arts is usually considered a dangerous sport. However, there is safety equipment you should learn to make a habit of using. Always wear mouth guards, hand-wraps, protection for your shins and groin area, as well as headgear when feasible. Be sure to warm up properly before training and above all, know your limits! You can wear all the protective gear you want, but you could still be injured by surpassing your experience level.
Compete With Your Age Group
On the same note as safety, if you plan on competing in mixed martial arts at an older age, make sure you compete with your own age group. Even seniors will benefit from MMA because it helps with balance and flexibility. That said, an older individual should be matched against those in their age group and rank and not against significantly younger competitors. That’s not to say that seniors don’t retain their skills, as it depends on the person. However, their reflexes could be slower and even a seasoned competitor can be hindered by a lifetime of injuries.
Taking part in mixed martial arts at any age requires a certain amount of focus and concentration. To hone your skills in this arena, practice building mindfulness when training and in other areas of your life. This means being present at the moment and experiencing your senses as you go about day-to-day tasks. One way to boost your ability to stay present is through daily meditation. Another is to limit outside distractions. After you’ve practiced martial arts for a time, you’ll discover that the sport itself increases the clarity of the mind.
Have Fun With It
As with any hobby or sport, it must be enjoyable for you to stay with it. Even though martial arts require hours of training and hard work, you must remember to have fun. If you’re new, research your local gyms and Dojos and find one with a qualified instructor and good ratings. If you’re willing to put in the time and be humble enough to learn from your competitors, you’ll love mixed martial arts and look forward to participating in the future.
Whether you’re a beginner or an expert mixed martial arts competitor, how long you compete in the sport depends on you. Dedicating yourself to a regular training routine, keeping a healthy diet, and observing safety measures will keep you active for years to come.
(Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Mikkie is a freelance writer from Chicago. She is also a mother of two who loves sharing her ideas on interior design, budgeting hacks, and DIY. When she’s not writing, she’s chasing the little ones or rock climbing at the local climbing gym.
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