Pure Physio Blog

Still Going Strong At The Aussie Open

Published on
16 Jan 2014

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This year’s Australian Open brings an inspiring mix of up-and-coming players competing alongside older, experienced big names of the game. We don’t often stop to appreciate the effort that is required to continue competing in a high intensity sport as we age. The presence of Hewitt, Federer and Rafter shows us that it’s possible to maintain fitness, strength and agility through the years.

This year’s Australian Open brings an inspiring mix of up-and-coming players competing alongside older, experienced big names of the game. We don’t often stop to appreciate the effort that is required to continue competing in a high intensity sport as we age. The presence of Hewitt, Federer and Rafter shows us that it’s possible to maintain fitness, strength and agility through the years.

As we get older the make up of our tissue changes. Tendons, ligaments and connective tissue naturally become stiffer over time due to changes in the make up of collagen within these tissues. The natural space within our joints that allows us fluid freedom of movement decreases over time, and the cartilage and bones become more brittle. These changes, coupled with an increase in sedentary occupations and lifestyle, means we often find ourselves unable to perform or compete at the level we could a few years prior. This often leads to injury; the mind is willing but the body doesn’t follow!

Physiotherapy not only plays a role in the treatment and management of injuries, but also in optimising performance. This is focused around both manual therapy to improve the movement of our joints, as well as various soft tissue techniques to improve the flexibility of our muscles and connective tissue. It is important to balance this with adequate stability around each joint through recruitment of small stabilising muscles, as well as strength, speed and endurance through specific muscle retraining strengthening.

Additionally, the small nerve endings within our joints and tissues play a vital role in our “muscle memory” and ability to respond quickly through speed and agility. This is achieved through specific training and practice. A guided “sports specific” program of exercises helps to achieve this.

Finally, it is important to remember that alongside the training and stretching we need to give our bodies adequate TLC and recovery time. Remedial massagedry needling and a regular clinical pilates routine will help to maintain joint, muscle and tissue health and keep us active and injury free!

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