One of my physical therapy professors summed up the answer to this question perfectly. She taught us that in your 20’s and early 30’s, you can play your sport to stay in shape, but as you get older, you need to stay in shape to play your sport.
It’s a fact of life, that as we age we become more injury prone. Why? Well, it’s complicated, because we’re all unique individuals. However, often a sedentary lifestyle is to blame. This isn’t something to beat ourselves up about. As we age, our responsibilities expand making it tougher to stay as active as we would like. Often, this decreased activity level contributes to a gradual loss of mobility, strength, and or balance.
Consequently, our bodies may start to compensate, and unless we do something to correct these maladjustments, they will persist and may even worsen. This is because, when it comes to movement, our bodies act like water and take the path of least resistance rather than doing what’s correct.
In contrast, exercises done correctly, allow us to improve and maintain the balance, mobility, stability, and functional strength required to safely participate in our sports and hobbies.
The trick is to do the correct exercises safely, so always check with your doctor prior to beginning an exercise program.