View Full Version : 40 Year olds.......How does he do it ?

27th Nov 2013, 22:50
Ryan Giggs is 40 this Friday...................................still playing at top class football (Soccer to the US) with Manchester United, as he has done since 1991, at a time when lots of people who started after him have already retired.
He into his 23rd year of doing it as well.

How the hell does he do it ?

Remember I went to Paris for my 40th and had a wonderful dinner with SWMBO and Friends. No way would I have been able to spent 90 minutes on a football pitch running around.............even 9 would have been a struggle.

27th Nov 2013, 23:05
By looking after himself, not over training in later years, changing your training
to suit your age / body. After a few years your lowest level of stamina / fitness
is at a much higher level. Lack of injuries, learning when to go hard and not go hard.

Same as Beckham did.

And as someone else said, good genes !

27th Nov 2013, 23:26
Sheesh!!! Playing football at 40 what the *** is remarkable about that?
For goodness sakes 40 is not yet grown up. I started windsurfing at 40 and continue to surf and windsurf now at 75.
Skiing however is not so good at my age, as the joints don't work so well in extreme cold.
Having a much younger wife and heavy everyday physical workload probably help to keep me reasonably fit. But some people much younger than me seem to have thought themselves into old age. Old style clothes, ancient haircuts, mud coloured jackets and trousers, shuffling along instead of walking tall ... it's all an attitude thing ... think old and you will become old. ;)

27th Nov 2013, 23:33
I remember a 45 y.o. hockey team-mate (who played vets International level) massaging soreness before a match.

I (age 40) asked "Does it hurt already?"

He replied " It all hurts!"

At 45 I retired, understanding what he meant.

40 is fine for high-impact sports like soccer, but 45 isn't.

27th Nov 2013, 23:34

The other thing is, sports science has come a long way since 1990
and this has gone a long way to keeping people playing.

That plus adjusting training regime to suit as opposed to one size fits all.

28th Nov 2013, 00:25
Sheesh!!! Playing football at 40 what the *** is remarkable about that?

Playing at 40 is not remarkable..................playing at the highest level at 40 and having maintained it for 23 years is.

28th Nov 2013, 00:30
The other thing is, sports science has come a long way since 1990
and this has gone a long way to keeping people playing.

Agree but having played in excess of 1000 games, 90 mins a game is, ok substituted as well but reckon it comes to quite a few months and thats not accounting for training.

Thing is not many players are playing over 35.

Must be funny going out and realising the rest of the team were in nappies when you started playing.

28th Nov 2013, 00:37


28th Nov 2013, 00:42
Generally speaking most people are in a terrible shape.

Blame primarily Nutrition for this coupled with a lack of exercise, heck, even moderate exercise with poor nutrition will keep you in poor shape.

In my 40's I run/row at the Gym an hour a day six days a week and find very few genuinely fit individuals of my age there. In performance I tend to compete against those in their 20's and 30's simply due to a lack of serious contenders over 40.

Giggs simply trains hard and trains well and couples it (probably) with excellent nutrition, he can afford a nutritionist! In his early 40's he'll see perhaps a 15% drop in performance over his 20's and 30's, not a great deal really as he was always super fit.

It surprises me that people are surprised.

I'd hazard a guess quite a few people in their 40's could be as fit as he is, both strength and cardiovascular, if they invested (the not insubstantial) effort required.

28th Nov 2013, 01:06
A dozen years or so ago I was doing the supermarket shopping when a bloke behind me puts 5 loaves of bread on the cashier's bench. I looked around and saw till this day the fittest person I have ever seen, Tom Hafey - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Hafey)

Hafey's passion for fitness still exists today; every morning he wakes up at 5:20 and goes for an 8 km run, followed by 250 push-ups and a swim in Port Phillip Bay, and when he gets home he does 700 crunches and sit-ups.He's now over 80 years old and makes Griggs look like a pussy.

28th Nov 2013, 01:35
Sir Stanley Matthews had a pretty good run at a lengthy career at the top level of play.

Loose rivets
28th Nov 2013, 05:27
It's a subject close to my heart. I was lucky until I was nearly 60. I was told I looked youthful and did pretty much what I wanted to do. Dig a 6' deep ditch looking for willow roots. Fine. Done in a couple of hours. Run along the beach every morning. Not a problem, not even ending by running up the steps to the greensward. On a good day, I'd go back down and do it again.

I was no lightweight, but the systems could cope . . . until one day just one part failed me.

Having a bad back is like having a fine old car with a main bearing failed. Bastard. I wouldn't accept old age creeping on, so I pushed on with the DIY, weightlifting and generally being silly. It felt so good, but now pumping iron, the weights the boys had left behind when they left home, caused a nipping sensation in my lower back. Nipping? Nothing woosies would worry about. Oh dear. How wrong can you get? Before long I knew my back was buggered, and no one would operate. Collapsed discs and stenosis. It was the latter than made the four surgeons not want to mess with it. It changed my life. In fact, it went a long way towards ruining my life. All my plans had no place for being a cripple but many days found me on crutches.

After some years I stopped pulling it about and decided to accept what I'd got. It helped a lot. I can do most things, but I can't lift any significant weight. Bloody frustrating for someone that hauled 300lbs about at age 60. Now, a tenth of that is the limit. Joining the tennis club again is just a dream, and that's sad, because that is what I intended to do. The over 60s lot - it would have been a wipe-out . . . but perhaps not when you couldn't stoop for yer balls. :sad:

Wind surfing? Mmmm . . . and another mmmmm. A pal at Frinton was as slim as a pin. Surfed in the grey sea in waves that were on their way to smashing beach huts. He was c 50 when one morning he complained of not feeling well. In an hour or two he was no longer with us. We were stunned. He was the single fittest person of our age group. Surfing and wind surfing are indeed very demanding sports but it's not about absolute determination. It's about luck, or DNA, or divine intervention.

So many of my contemporaries are gone. Hard to accept that when I'm looking at old school photos. They're just gone. Some are merely diminished and accept it. Some are diminished and fight against it. One of the latter is one of my closest friends. He looks at me and says, 'What's going on? I used to look down at you, now you're taller than me.' It's true. He's lost over 3" and is still being demolished by arthritis. Vicious bloody illness. No one has fought harder than him. Sailing until he couldn't get into his dingy. Allotment, well, still going, but now he's just relinquished half of it. That lotty was an important part of his life. He did a job that required a medical similar to my Class I. He was supremely fit, but now the numbers game has called his tally.

There's a lot we can do to to beat the numbers, but there's also the part of the game that we simply can't get past. We lose, and that's cast in stone. I accept it more easily now, but when I get a phase like this summer in England, and work in the garden for hours, I wonder if the clock has been reversed. No, it hasn't. pulling out a summer's worth of weeds from the Texas house today has nigh on demolished me but I look about me on the web and see how lucky I am. Cancer, intervertibral discs, a brain full of grot, all nothing compared to so many of my age. Time for another wine and get cracking on the serious work of the day. I've stimulated myself into cracking on with that darn sequel.


28th Nov 2013, 05:37

Your mention of lifting made me remember by Dad, big brute,
always had a bad back that meant lifting was a problem and it
would frustrate the living hell out of him.

Made me realise how lucky I am considering how many other
ex soldiers have bad backs.

West Coast
28th Nov 2013, 06:04
Annually I haul rugby players players in and out of Aspen Colorado for a tournament. Many of them are on senior teams are are older than I (48) and are in spectacular shape. Those takeoff rolls are a helluva lot longer than with all of them in the back.

Loose rivets
28th Nov 2013, 06:26
I imagine having all of them in the back would initiate an unscheduled minimum velocity unstick test.

Ooo Sorry! Aviation content. :ooh:

West Coast
28th Nov 2013, 06:36
Definitely a bit more back pressure. Swear the FD must be broken, the bars are only commanding about 5 degrees NU when they're in the back.

28th Nov 2013, 07:26
Some people are born with good genes, maybe more than we think, but as it seems to be the mission of every youngster to use and abuse themselves ;) in the name of having a good time, well.....at a certain point the body rebels and many are a shadow of themselves by the age of 40. For the likes of Giggs, who have been kept supremely fit by their profession and have minimalized trauma to their joints, the natural decline has been greatly reduced. Good nutrition plays a huge part, as does sufficient rest and a healthy 'family' unit. Attitude seems to play a great part, all the vivacious older persons seem to have kept a child-like quality and are still interested in the world around them, how ever faster changing it is these days.


28th Nov 2013, 08:02
According to the TV interview with Mr. Giggs, his secret is the same as mine.


28th Nov 2013, 10:26
Loose Rivets post 13 :ok::ok:
Yes body deterioration and death will get us eventually (Carlos Castenada describes it well in his book on Don Juan) But you just have to keep pushing to the limits of your pain. For sure my arthritis is getting worse, and a skiing injury to my back puts me in bed for a week every couple of months. But for me there is no choice but to keep pushing. My son is 16 and needs a man to look up to and not an old semi cripple. As for my wife ... :ouch:
I realise that I have not done much exercise for the last week due a cold. Am about to take my bike for a few miles around the local river valley, and it feels like self torture but the satisfaction later will be reward enough.
Keep pushing, or give up and die ... tough choices when your body is older than your spirit. :ouch::)

28th Nov 2013, 11:42
According to the TV interview with Mr. Giggs, his secret is the same as mine.


Ah yes, there is that. Now I have the image of Blacksheep doing the downward facing dog burned into my cerebellum :uhoh:


28th Nov 2013, 11:55
Loose Rivets post 13 :ok::ok:


This whole subject is very much at the fore of my mind ATM, having to care for my 81 y.o. mother-in-law. Makes me even more determined to make the right choices now to ensure I have a long and healthy retirement.

I've heard lots of good things said about Yoga - maybe I'll check it out. Have done some pilates in the past which definitely helped. Low impact is the way to go when you hit your 40s/50s.

28th Nov 2013, 12:16
Loose Rivets post 13 http://images.ibsrv.net/ibsrv/res/src:www.pprune.org/get/images/smilies/thumbs.gifhttp://images.ibsrv.net/ibsrv/res/src:www.pprune.org/get/images/smilies/thumbs.gif
This post scares the bezejus out of me after I did my lower back manually mixing and laying 5 cubic meters of concrete over several days to build a front porch (this also includes the shovelling of sand and aggregate to the work area and carrying 60kg bags of pure concrete). I found at the time I could overcome the initial pain mentally by switching it out. Took one whole year for the pain to eventually subside and still it teases me every now and then 3 years later. I'm not even 50 yet worry about what I foolishly have done to myself. The buggah is I need to do even more concreting on my remote hideaway.

Some people are born with good genes
True, we have some world famous ultra-marathon runners from our area, indeed they even named the marathon after a village in the nearby mountain ranges.

28th Nov 2013, 13:59
named the marathon

Not the legendary Leadville?

Dak Man
28th Nov 2013, 14:13
Yes indeed, good genes, Welsh dad that played rugby (although only the poor cousin rugby league variant).

Every year I threaten to dust off my boots, every year I refrain - even coaching hurts. I miss and crave the physicality but not the associated aches and pains.

Loose rivets
28th Nov 2013, 20:04
This post scares the bezejus out of me

Every case is different. Remember, the reason four surgeons - despite huge pushing from me - would not operate was the stenosis more than the bulging disc that made them make that decision.

One of my new found semi-siblings has been 7 plus years restoring a house in the Lake District. He mixes a lot of cement on a total digger-in-the-front-room kind of restoration. He also cuts and hauls logs to heat his home. etc., etc. He has had back surgery for a bulging disc.

A pal in Walton on the Naze has had Wallis wedges put in on two layers. He is a builder and I watched him break up a driveway with one of those giant steel pins. None of yer woosie Kangos for him. (I don't understand, but that's the way he goes.)

I have spurs on my vertebra. They're easy to see even with simple x-rays. I'm not sure what causes them, and I'm not sure what part they play in causing pain. I can imagine them cutting into muscle.

So, a simple bulge, or even a herniation, can often be fixed to some degree and give some kind of hope for the future. What can't be done is beat a true faulty disc by working the hell out of it.

So much pain is thought to be caused by a 'neurovascular cloud' building up to effect repairs - on a structure that doesn't of course have a blood supply. This web of blood vessels and nerves has the sad side-effect of transmitting pain in the other direction. Surgery often kills off that web, but within a few months, it's growing again, and often patients say the pain is bad again after five years. Perhaps that's why. The main thing is to get to the real problem.

Detailed diagnosis is the only way forward - and while chiropractors can work miracles with so-called 'slipped discs', it might be better to have an MRI before the injured part is pulled around too much. Hard call that one. I slipped my back out one morning, and could only crawl about the house all day while I waited for my neighbor to come home. Clunk click and 15 mins later I was walking about and finding a cushion for the car. That night I nearly jumped over the fence in Palma to take a short cut. I just remembered in time. So, great temptation to give it a go.

As series of tests (pricking parts of the leg etc.) and an MRI are pretty well essential to know where to go with the problem. A neurosurgeon specializing in lower backs is the professional to go for if there is a real issue.

Slipped discs. I gather the disc is glued to the vertebra by miracle glue. People come out of air crashes in bits, but the discs are still fastened to the fractured bone. Despite this, the disc's inner gel can burst through the walls of the disc. Often it goes back towards the spinal chord or off to one quarter, which might directly impinge upon the sciatic nerve. Mostly it's back with a bias to one side - so pain/numbness is on one leg as well as back spasm. It's the power with which the back locks up that causes most pain. Strong muscles on full power.

The computing power to keep your line of vertebra straight is vast and fortunately those two apparent muscles either side of the spine are made up of a mass of individually controlled smaller parts. Good job, having one of those apparent muscles go into spasm would probably pull you backwards until you snapped. But the control is thankfully not that simplistic. However, it seems quite a lot of the telemetry comes from Lumbar 3 region. I have no idea why. But when that area becomes inflamed, it can send a lot of duff data and leave the patient with knotted lumps in seemingly random places along the full length of the back.

When it gets this bad, there is a logical need to get it all calmed down and brought out of spasm before any worthwhile diagnostics can be done.

28th Nov 2013, 20:30
Is Giggs still banging his sister-in-law?

28th Nov 2013, 23:19
I don't wish to question anyones common sense here, but to be lifting heavy things after a certain age (outside of controlled weight training) is just begging for trouble sooner, but definitely later. I've been known to help out friends and enemies in the past with home moves and so on and even derived satisfaction from doing so, but it caused my body more trouble than it was worth. Reading how you're lifting 60kg bags of cement/sand is just scary. Please consider purchasing a foldable 2 wheel trolley, there's no shame in using such a device.


29th Nov 2013, 01:31
LR, many thanks for the informative post, I've really got to take more notice of them bits screaming out from pain.

SHJ, you should see the raw strength of the bloke who delivers these bags of cement. Lucky for him the cement bags have been reduced to 50kg bags this year (sign of the times). I always squatted when I picked up those 60kg bags, sometimes I would make it upright, most of the time I would just rest them under my thighs and waddle to my short destination, occasionally the bags would split as they tried to maneuver around where they were being supported and I would end up wearing cement clothes. Carrying the cement bags isn't the painful bit, turning over wet concrete with a shovel in order to mix it well is the real back breaker as you have a limited time to do it before laying it - 2 x 700kg concrete per day was my solo limit. Those little cement mixers just don't have the capacity for this kind of work. Fortunately there was a bit of method to this madness.