Former Socceroo Mark Milligan on maintaining fitness and balanced lifestyle – Daily Telegraph

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When you’re young, and a professional athlete, you can feel invincible. But when former Socceroo Mark Milligan hung up his boots, he knew he had to find ways to maintain his fitness.

One of the cruellest twists in professional sport is that, when you’re playing, you feel

unstoppable, and in peak physical condition. But when you finish? That’s when the

aches, pains and, if you’re unlucky, surgeries start to creep in.

Trust me, I know plenty of former footy players who were lightning quick on the field, but will be nursing crook knees, shoulders or backs for their rest of their lives. And when I climb out of bed on a cold winter’s morning, it sounds like the house is haunted, what with all the creaking and groaning.

It’s bloody hard on the body — I still remember being told once that I might never run again after my ninth knee surgery.

Just ask former Socceroos captain turned 10 ViacomCBS commentator Mark Milligan, who says he’s learned to tune into his body like a radio broadcast. That way, when it’s time to slow down, he knows it.

“I think when you are young you can fall into the trap of believing you are invincible. You are not,” he says.

“When it comes to health, a balanced lifestyle is very important to me. I am fortunate having lived the majority of my life as a professional athlete so the fitness component for me has remained to this day.

“It’s not always an intensive workout but generally speaking, staying active comes naturally.

“I have been fortunate over the years to develop a good understanding of what my body needs and when. It general makes it pretty clear to me when I need to make a change or maybe take the foot off the gas a little.”

Another misconception about professional athletes? That they’re instantly good at everything. The moment they race up a running shoe they’ll be leading Usain Bolt in the 100m sprint.

That’s another falsity Milligan is only too happy to correct.

“I will generally have a go at most things but not so much that I waste my time on it,” he says,

“But I won’t go for a road run, more because the years of professional sport have worn down my knees, so I need softer surfaces.”

Mark Milligan on…

Best advice he’s ever been given

“Write as much down as you can. If that be for work or as simple as a short-term plan or goal. My granddad told me this, and it keeps you focused and on track. Also, it’s a good way to reflect on things you can do better.”

Training the brain

“Simple. Try to keep it as active as possible during the day and let it rest at night. And it’s difficult at times, but that means putting the phone down.”

Life lessons

“Never take anything for granted. Whether that be family, friends, your health or even

as simple as the chance for a good night’s rest.”

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