I'm in my 40s now. And a bit overweight. And with arthritis here and there.

I trained in karate and then kung fu years ago. Then recently, about 18 months ago, returned to martial arts after years and years of no training.

Here's the thing. In class, I perform on the same level as people half my age. But between classes I feel like a decrepit old man.

Is this normal, and will I eventually feel the benefits of training, between sessions?

  • 1
    Expand on your "decrepit old man" feelings. What exactly are you feeling? Joint pain? Tendinitis? Muscle soreness? Describe the pain. Do your muscles ache and feel stiff? How soon after class do you feel this? After a night's sleep? Do you feel tired and lack energy the next day? Does it go away in class? And how often do you go to class? Once a week, twice a week, etc.? You've been going continuously for 18 months now? Commented Mar 13, 2016 at 4:48
  • Muscle weakness but not really sore or in any way painful. Knees and ankles feel a bit sore. I have arthritis in my big toe joint on my right foot. The accumulated result of several minor injuries over the course of my life. When it flares up it really hurts to the extent that I can only walk slowly with a limp. Bizarrely, it never flares up in class. I train at full intensity, ie at my personal physical limit, twice per week, for 2 hours each time. The decrepit feeling is most of the time except in class. It's like decrepit is my normal, but I become somebody else when training.
    – user6847
    Commented Mar 13, 2016 at 12:19
  • The knee joint issues are common. One way to deal with it is to build your leg muscles around your knees (squats, deadlifts, lunges). How much protein (in grams) are you eating per day? Are you drinking or eating any carbohydrates immediately after working out (highly recommended by the way). How many calories are you eating per day, and is it enough for your size? Do you use a foam roller? Do you use ice? Do you get enough sleep? On your days off from martial arts, are you running or doing any cardio? Commented Mar 14, 2016 at 3:47

2 Answers 2


When training, the body experiences damage. In the resting phase between training, the body heals and overcompensates for the damage done. Around the second day after a training session, you experience the most benefit from that single session. By the third day, your body begins detraining.

If you overtrain, your body will not be able to keep up with the load. If you undertrain, you will basically maintain your current level.

An ideal training schedule alternates different types of training on a two to three day rotation, with sufficient intensity to trigger the repair response, but not so intensely that you overwhelm the body's ability to recover.

Men over 40 sometimes experience low testosterone, which affects the drain ng response and general wellbeing. Doctors routinely test for this and prescribe steroid patches.

The body's healing processes slow with age, so it may take longer to experience full benefits. Look at your training regimen in the light of this background. The worst case scenario matching what you describe would be overtraining once a week. A better scenario would be to start at a more moderate level of training two to three times per week.

  • Thanks. I think you're right. I perhaps need to give my arthritic foot a bit of rest, and with luck, it will not hurt so much when I walk, which might enable me to be more motivated to do light training between martial arts classes.
    – user6847
    Commented Mar 13, 2016 at 21:05

Training martial arts is a good activity for health, but there is no guarantee that it will fix your weight or arthritis. For that you need either luck, youth, or a diet and exercise plan specifically made for your purposes.

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