Age is just a number, right? Well, many baby boomers think so. Studies show that the number of mature adults who participate in athletic sports is on the rise. Also, on the rise, is the number of aging athletes visiting their orthopedic doctors. Many orthopedic specialists are witnessing a surge in athletic injuries of baby boomers, calling it “boomeritis” (According to spokesman of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, Dr. Ray Monto.). It is fantastic that age is less of a factor when continuing or participating in a sport you love. Age should not stop you from enjoying your favorite past-times, but you may want to follow some simple tips.
As we age, we start to lose muscle and bone mass, and the body begins to experience physical changes. Ligaments, muscles, and tendons become less elastic, loosing their flexibility, and become increasingly susceptible to injuries. These tears are common injuries among older athletes, as well as shin splints, tendonitis, and sprains. Arthritis is likely a common condition in aging athletes, as one in five adults will develop Osteoarthritis. Unfortunately, sports injuries can result in arthritis as well.
Sports doctors and orthopedic specialist suggest that the aging athletes follow the following tips:
- Rest. The number one reason why injuries occur in the aging athlete, is that they do not give their body enough time to recover. The body will not recover a fast as it did when you where in your 20’s and 30’s. Schedule days off into your workout/training regimen.
- Warm-up. Older athletes need to give their bodies adequate time to warm-up . As the body ages, it takes longer to respond.
- Work on Flexibility and Strength. Decreased flexibility is common as we age. It is important to spend extra time focusing on this area, through stretching. Yoga is a great way to stay flexible and could also work into the Warm-Up area. When the muscles and connective tissues are flexible, fewer injuries will occur. Strength training will build muscle mass, which is important since we loss muscle as we age.
- Switch up your work out routine. By changing your training sessions around, you keep it new and fresh. You are also using different muscles which will help to aid against injuries.
- Drink plenty of water to keep hydrated, eat healthy, and take supplements. Many doctors recommend that aging athletes take a Glucosamine supplement to aid in joint and cartilage protection and growth. A high quality liquid Glucosamine like Synflex® can help to keep you flexible, mobile, and in the game.