Orthopaedic health for the older athlete
Each of us, as we age, begin to notice certain changes in our abilities to compete in athletic activities – or the speed at which our bodies recover from demanding physical activity. The body naturally becomes weaker as we age; reaction time becomes slower and bone and muscle mass begin to diminish.
It is important to stay active at every stage of life, but doing so may mean certain adaptations are in order to prevent tissue damage and pain.
Adjusting your workout to prevent orthopedic injury include:
- Stay hydrated while you work out.
- Reduce the intensity, but not the intent, of your workout. Set a specific goal for yourself each week and work at a pace that is comfortable for YOU to achieve it. If you feel pain develop, listen to your body.
- Maintain your bone and muscle mass by including some type of weight training in your routine. This can include lifting weights or even swimming or walking.
- Invest in a quality pair of shoes appropriate for the specific activity. This is especially important for older athletes.
- Allow yourself time to recover. It will take longer as you age. This includes getting a good night’s sleep. Seven to nine hours are recommended for adults, but listen to your body to make sure you get what you need.
- Be sure to eat a balanced diet and don't forget to include the protein and minerals that your workout may have depleted.
- See your healthcare provider before starting an exercise program, and, if you notice any dizziness or sharp pain, don't push through it – get it checked out!