In this episode, I’ll talk about
– Definition of “In Good Shape”
– Are Over 50 Hockey Players in good shape?
– Pros and Cons of Playing Hockey at our age
– What sport is the best for us?
– Sticks and Stones…
Definition of “In Good Shape”
Being in a good state of health or in a good condition.
Are over 50 hockey players in good shape?
Guys walking from their cars to the rink were moving slow. But they can still skate great.
When I returned to hockey in 2017, I was already in shape. Unfortunately, I was in was terrible shape. It took me 3 months of playing to get in decent shape again.
What’s frustrating to me is there are players in their 70’s that never seem to get tired during a game.
Some days it’s tough just bringing my equipment bag up from the basement. Putting my bag into my van and taking it out is also dangerous. Even though I have wheeled bag, I’m usually tired by the time I get to the locker room.
The men’s locker room is not a pleasant sight (includes myself). Getting dressed is exhausting. Gravity has not been kind to our bodies.
During an Over 60 League game that I wasn’t at, a player got hurt. After the game, EMS arrived asking who they were there for. The second paramedic scanned the locker room and said “What happened? All you guys look like you need to go to the hospital”. True story!
Before I go to play hockey, my wife usually tells me to be careful. I say “I’m in great shape, I played HS hockey. What could go wrong”. She shakes her head and rolls her eyes. I probably sound like Al Bundy.
How often you skate, affects your fitness level. Skating once a week, like I do, is better than nothing, but the guys that skate multiple times a week are in better shape than me.
Do you get injured a lot (like me)? A long recovery time can nullify all the work you did to get in shape.
The bottom line is we play hockey because we love it. Whatever health benefits we get from playing is great, but secondary to most of us.
Pros and Cons of Playing Hockey at our age
Full Body Workout
One of these articles says Hockey is Aerobic Exercise. I believe it’s more Anaerobic than Aerobic. We get our heart rate up for a few minutes, but then go to the bench and rest. It’s not like we’re running a marathon.
I think of Hockey a fast bursts of energy vs Runner’s having endurance. Who is in in better shape, Hockey Players or Runners? I won’t answer that because I have friend’s in both sports. But I will tell you that the Over 50 runner’s bodies usually look better in swimsuits than us Ageless Hockey Players.
Develops hand-eye coordination
Improves Balance and Coordination, With Quick Moves and Direction Changes. There are times when skating, turning, crossovers and stopping when you’re only on one skate for a moment. This is when any physical contact or damaged ice will send you flying.
Tip: Your legs are like shock absorbers, bending your knees when playing hockey will result in a smoother/longer stride, more power and better balance.
Character Building: Play hard, but when the game is over, you shake hands with the enemy (opponent) and treat them with respect.
Skating is better on your knees than other activities, like running. I’m not sure this is true. Some articles I’ve seen say running is beneficial to your knees.
Play indoors in a controlled environment. Games seldom get cancelled because of the weather. Power outage = no ice. TV News: HS games getting canceled because of a referee shortage (all sports) – Low pay, plus verbal and physical abuse from parents and players.
Life-Long Sport: Play in leagues from 5 yr – 80’s. It’s fun to play a competitive team sport at our age.
It feels cool telling people you are playing hockey.
Injury Risk: Hockey is called the Fastest Game On Earth.
You’re on a slippery surface, balancing on skate blades that are approximately 1/8″ wide, while moving forward/backward, turning and stopping. Fortunately, at our age there is no checking. However, there is still contact with other players, bad ice and yourself (my story).
Unfortunately, I know a lot about hockey injuries.
Injuries may result in arthritis or other issues as we age.
Expensive: compared to some other sports. Equipment = $1K, League = $410, DIH = $11
There could be a waiting list to get on a league team.
What’s interesting and frustrating to me regarding hockey is that some big guys can skate faster than me (I first noticed this when I was young). I could smoke them in a foot race, but on the ice, it was a different story. Why is this? Stronger legs? Better technic?
It’s tough to “take it easy” playing hockey, just like with other team sports. If you don’t give the maximum effort, you’ll probably have some upset teammates.
What sport is the best for us?
Hockey is the best = my opinion.
It’s OK to say hockey is the best sport for you.
Most people can walk/run, but not everyone can skate. But let’s not act like we’re special because we play hockey. Other sports also require special skills. I could never dunk a basketball or shoot 3-point shots with someone defending me. I was never able to hit a 95 mph fastball or a 80 mph curve. The best score I’ve had on the golf course is 87 (not a PGA course).
Other Sports: Golf, tennis or badminton, running, swimming, biking (not riding your Harley), walking, softball, karate/tai chi, bowling, yoga, Pilates, downhill or cross country skiing, dancing (Dancing with the Stars: great shape), weight lifting,
NOTE: I didn’t mention football, basketball, baseball, soccer, volleyball, gymnastics, snowboarding, racquet ball, handball, squash, lacrosse, bull riding, wrestling, rugby, boxing, mixed martial arts or cliff diving, because I don’t see many Over 50 men and women participating in them.
I believe the most important thing is to play a sport or do an activity because you enjoy it. If you try doing something only because you’ve heard it will get you in the best shape, you probably won’t do it for very long.
Another thing you may want to consider is how safe the sport is. I’m getting a lot of injuries that are already hurting me daily (finger, wrist, knees, ankle, ribs/head seem OK)
IMPORTANT: You also need to “be smart” picking something you really can physically do. If you have bad knees, you may not be able to run. But maybe you can ride a bicycle or swim?
Whatever main sport you choose, include other sports and activities. Bobby Orr and Wayne Gretsky didn’t play summer hockey. Good to use different muscles (I think I still have a couple muscles at my age). Plus, it’s important to meet new people and get together with existing friends that don’t play your sport. Many of my friend’s love golf.
I share snow skiing weekend experiences. My respect for runners increased.
Don’t focus on the Pros and Cons if you enjoy the sport. There will most likely be some health benefit no matter what sport/activity you choose.
Goals (not hockey)
NY Resolutions vs Goals: NYR aren’t specific enough (I want to get in better shape this year. What does that mean? Now if you say you want to run a 5K race in August; now you have a goal you are more likely to keep).
Sticks and Stones…
Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me. Don’t Believe This!
Words are powerful. The wrong words can destroy a marriage.
I’ve heard players make comments to less skilled players that aren’t real nice. They may have just been joking, but be careful what you say.
In 1994 (41 yr) a co-worker invited me to play in a PUH game. He said the competition was pretty good, so I said sure. During my first shift on the ice I pulled my thigh muscle, so the rest of the game I wasn’t skating very good. I remember one of the players saying to my co-worker “I thought you said Jim was good? He sucks!”.
I admit that most of the guys were better than me, but I didn’t suck. I was hurt.
When I left that game, I said to myself that I’ll never play with them again.
Be careful what you say. We’re playing for fun now, don’t say something mean to a player that may cause them to stop playing.
Don’t make fun of a less skilled player. Every player, no matter what they are rated makes a good play occasionally. Compliment everyone when they do something good and be slow to point out when they do something wrong. We all make our share of mistakes, but it’s nice when someone tells you when you made a good play.
Is hockey hard?
Brendan Shanahan was asked if he thought hockey was hard.
“We need to have the strength and power of a football player, the stamina of a marathon runner, and the concentration of a brain surgeon. But we need to put all this together while moving at high speeds on a cold and slippery surface while 5 other guys use clubs to try and kill us. Oh yeah did I mention that this whole time we’re standing on blades 1/8 of an inch thick? Is ice hockey hard? I don’t know, you tell me.”
Now Shanahan is a NHL Hall of Famer, so his experiences playing are different than us older players (unless you played at a high level).
10 Reasons Hockey is the Greatest Sport on Earth
Orthopedic Surgeon told me to get DonJoy Arch Rival Foot Orthotics.
I purchased Superfeet Carbon Pro Hockey Insoles.
During my injury, I’m trying to get back into shape by open skating, stationary bike and squats with a ball against wall.
Smarthockey Smart Hockey 6oz Stickhandling & Shooting Training Ball $12.99
Something about me
Taking a photography class at a community college.
Cousin offered me a photography job. Left Great Scott Supermarket
1977: Moved to Marco Island, Florida to work at my cousin’s photography business
Marco Beach Hotel – Now Marriott
1979: Mackinac Island, MI (no vehicles allowed, except for police and fire)
Somewhere in Time – Christopher Reeve, Jane Seymour, Christopher Plumber
I didn’t appreciate this experience until I got older.
I hope you enjoyed this episode.
Remember what’s important: Have fun, try to avoid injuries and make new friends.
Please share my podcast with friends and other players.
Show Notes for this episode are located at AgelessHockey.com/13
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My email is Jim@AgelessHockey.com
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Have fun playing the greatest game on earth!
STAY ON THE ICE