This week... we take a look back to share some insightful thoughts that MAT® Founder Greg Roskopf penned as a contributing author to variety of sports and physical fitness publications over the past decade. This first installment of Greg's articles highlights the impacts on "The Aging Athlete". Greg wrote:
"As we look at Hall of Fame inductees (The Colorado Sports Hall of Fame specifically or any other Hall of Fame for that matter) from afar, we simply see all of the successes that these athletes experienced in their careers within their sport. To reach the Hall of Fame pinnacle they became elite in their sport by optimizing their personal athletic performance to a level that is extremely difficult, if not impossible, for others to attain. They are truly the best of the best....Hall of Fame!
What we don’t easily see, however, is the commitment to performance improvement that it took for these athletes to achieve the elite status that they’ve accomplished. The time and energy spent on training and rehabilitation in an attempt to keep their bodies performing at optimal levels is quite possibly the most difficult task any athlete faces. Sadly, injuries could have ended any Hall of Famers' career prematurely, taking away their chances to reach the elite status that they ultimately achieved. Occasionally, it is one significant injury that change a career trajectory but more often it is a series of injuries that ends an athlete’s career. Athletes, such as Shannon Sharpe, (now an NFL Hall of Famer) spent countless hours in their offseason training to keep their bodies in proper movement patterns to reduce their likelihood of injury from overstress. This type of training proved essential to keeping his body at peak athletic performance levels throughout the span of his career.
John Elway, who in 2004 was a newly inducted Pro Football Hall of Fame athlete, retired after earning the MVP honor in his last Super Bowl. Elway was able to play 16 years before retiring. In his retirement speech, he stated that his body could no longer handle the physical requirements that come with the game.
Terrell Davis, a potential Hall of Fame athlete, was forced to retire prematurely due to a series of injuries that led to the degeneration of his knee. Who knows what he might have achieved had he remained healthy?
The body breaking down; it’s what every athlete fears. Especially, since an injury or series of injuries is typically what forces an athlete into retirement. We blame it on age but the reality is that the body just can’t do the things that it used to be able to do. Is it age... or it is something else?
Muscle Activation Techniques® (MAT®) believes that this “aging process” does not have to be an accepted "fact of life". The body is a complex piece of machinery and if it is properly prepared and maintained, it has the opportunity to continue to function at high levels. The MAT® thought process views the problem being when the body is not properly prepared for exercise and training, that it begins to break down and thus the body becomes more injury prone. Practitioners across the globe that apply Muscle Activation Techniques® work to keep the body functioning at optimal levels, and most importantly pain free. In too many cases, athletes, both professional and recreational have been forced to stop exercising because of pain. This sounds similar to the primary reason many professional athletes have cited in years past as their reason for having to retire prematurely. The question usually asked but never answered is, “What causes the pain”? MAT® believes that the "typical" pain we experience as we age is due to an accumulation of stresses being placed on the body that the muscles and joints can no longer handle. When the muscles and joints become overstressed, the result is pain. Muscles control body movement, however, if the muscles are imbalanced (or more specifically aren't contracting efficiently), they can’t function properly. This can cause the body to get out of alignment and no longer perform the way that it should. These imbalances begin affecting other parts of the body, causing the body to be more injury prone, and starting that person on a downward spiral.
Muscle Activation Techniques® can help stop this downward spiral and even help reverse the process by balancing the muscular system. MAT® is a technique designed to correct body alignment so that the body can function more efficiently by focusing on the issues that are likely causing the pain. The MAT® treatments can help improve structural alignment by correcting the muscular imbalances, which in turn will reduce the stress on joints and tissues. Combining the MAT® treatment with an adult exercise program, that focuses on keeping the body stable and in balance through proper movement training, is a key to keeping aging athletes at the top of their game. Certified MAT® Specialists worldwide can help you do this!"