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AGING FOR SPORTS PERSONS

Those of us who have enjoyed many years of vigorous sporting activity do tend to have a longer list of exercise-related injuries than our less active friends.

The baby boom generation currently reaching middle like are a highly motivated generation and tended to play sports more vigorously than the previous generation. These injuries, unfortunately impact the rate of deterioration of the bodies skeletal and muscular systems.

Common ailments include:

  • Herniated disks
  • Blown knees
  • Sore backs
  • Stiff shoulders
  • Knee osteoarthritis

Many of these symptoms are showing up in the 30’s and 40’s, well before one would expect in the normal aging process. This corresponds largely to the nineties. During this decade, sports injuries among baby boomers increased by 33 percent from 1991 to 1998, to over 1 million injuries, according to figures cited in a U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission report.

The highest numbers of sports-related injuries came from bicycling, basketball, baseball and running, according to the consumer report. The most common injuries come from overuse and affect knees, ankles, lower back and shoulders.

 

Adopting a Sensible Approach

As we reach our 50’s, its a matter of being more educated in how to exercise appropriately and what signs to look out. Being gentler on muscles and joints does not mean less activity. It may mean that we supplement more active sports with gentler ones such as yoga, pilates and tai chi. Other excellent exercises include: strength training with light free weights, isometrics and using elastic resistance bands. Exchanging running for vigorous walking is a better option on hips, knees and ankles.

We must accept that we are no longer 20 and adjust our activities to our age. The goal is the be fit AND pain free, without relying on drugs and surgery to heal injuries. This change in attitude is not always easy, especially for competitive men, but will pay dividends in later years.

Having a tailored low injury fitness program together with annual cardiovascular work-ups is highly recommended for active aging.


 
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