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- LA Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford is set to play in his first Super Bowl at 34 years of age.
- Stafford said his weight loss has been particularly important to his success in recent years.
- He’s said swimming, yoga, and dog walks are some of the ways he stays in shape.
Matthew Stafford took the long road to the Super Bowl. Incorporating other sports like swimming and yoga helped him get there later on in his career.
The 34-year-old Los Angeles Rams quarterback will be the oldest former first-overall NFL Draft pick to start in his first Super Bowl on Sunday. Stafford, who spent his first 12 NFL seasons with the Detroit Lions, joined the Rams this past offseason to try and chase that elusive championship but it might be too late if he hadn’t found swimming and yoga.
Stafford said one of the biggest reasons he has finally reached his first Super Bowl after years of falling short is because of the care he paid to his fitness in recent years and his commitment to
“There’s probably some old photos floating of me out there at 235 lbs, enjoying life back in the day, playing ball at a heavier weight,” Stafford told Insider during a Super Bowl press conference. “But as I get older, fitness is more and more important, that’s the biggest thing. I’m trying to do everything I can to make sure my body is in good shape and I’m ready to play.”
Stafford, who is currently listed at 220 lbs, previously said two of the healthiest habits he has adopted over the past few years is regular swimming and yoga, along with dog walks to improve his flexibility and cardio, in an interview with A Healthier Michigan.org.
“You’ve got to change it up so you’re still having fun while you’re moving around,” Stafford said.
Stafford thrived at a heavier weight earlier in his career but made changes as he got older
Stafford’s current weight of 220 lbs is much closer to his college weight of 225 lbs at the University of Georgia, but the NFL quickly took a toll on his body.
Stafford suffered shoulder injuries in each of his first two seasons with the Lions in 2009-10, and there were reported concerns that his career could be plagued by injuries. He then showed up to training camp in 2011 reportedly bulkier and heavier and listed at 235 lbs, but went on to have his best season that year and was an MVP candidate.
Stafford didn’t miss another game to injury until 2020, but slowly started to slim down after the 2016 season, when he started incorporating more wellness practices into his life, according to A Healthier Michigan.org.
In 2018, Stafford reportedly showed up to training camp the slimmest and leanest he had been since coming into the NFL, and said he had been focused more on his fitness and diet than ever before in an interview with Sirius XM.
—SiriusXM NFL Radio (@SiriusXMNFL) August 15, 2018
“When you’re younger you can carry more weight,” Stafford said. “But the older I get, the less I feel like I need that.”
Swimming and yoga don’t build bulk light weightlifting, but still builds full-body muscle
Stafford’s regular swimming ensured that he was getting a regular cardio workout that built strength across his entire body, which is a more effective way of strengthening joints to prevent injury than heavy weightlifting, according to WebMD.
Yoga is a popular workout for weight loss, but typically burns fewer calories than cardio or strength workouts. However, yoga’s benefit for Stafford is in how it helped improve his flexibility, which aligns posture and can improve muscle resiliency to reduce risk of injury. Yoga also improves balance and reduces stress.