Photo Credit: Petsy Fink Copyright 2015

Can I start training Kung Fu after 40’s? The most important thing is to START training. You have to pay more attention to body warming and staying like this during the training session. In each session you must break sweat (increase your body temperature) but you must train in intensity gradually.

Many students do not realize that the body they had at 20 years old is not the same as in 40‘s. If at 20‘s you have a lot of energy and do a lot of external exercises, in your 40‘s and up you must focus a lot on your internal training too.

At younger age we feel naturally healthy and we do not pay much attention to our diet or lifestyle. As we age, the lifestyle becomes extremely important if we want to live a happy life. You must eat a balanced meal, hydrate your body, keep a schedule for daily activities, sleep early every night and take it easy in the beginning.

Start from the training Kung Fu basics: stances (gradually go lower), movements, kicks. Kung Fu training requires time and energy. Mountain hiking will strengthen your body overall.

Most common issues with getting older are: increased need for mobility and flexibility; need to build up your cardiovascular system; need for basic strength to overcome body degeneration which starts about age 30 and robs up to 15% (in sedentary people) of your muscle mass every 10 years after that.

If you lack in only one area, work on improving that area. If you lack in all of them, then start with what you feel is most important for your art and build up from there.

The basic strength can be obtained through body-weight exercise. Mobility can be done either through stretching, or other exercises designed to increase the range of motion. Most likely hip mobility and shoulder mobility will be the most affected. The cardiovascular system can be built up rather quickly by running intervals. Start with walking/jogging intervals and work up to jogging/running intervals.

And the most important: START small and do it step by step! Training Kung Fu can be fun at any age!

Dr. Rhea Du

Dr. Rhea Du

International Shaolin Cultural Exchange Ambassador of Shaolin Temple Yunnan