Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Staying Fit After Forty

Have you ever heard of “boomeritis?” It is actually
a term that has been coined by the American Academy of Orthopaedic
Surgeons, referring to a growing number of sports related injuries
among baby boomers. In fact, the problem is so extensive, that the
AAOS has developed a web site, www.boomer-it geared toward
helping active baby boomers avoid and cope with injuries.

Of course, the AAOS is not in any way discouraging boomers from staying active
and fit, on the contrary, the organization recognizes that the benefits
of exercise far outweigh the risks of injury. But don’t forget,
it’s a good idea to get your doctors approval before starting
any exercise program. So once that’s done and you’re
ready to roll, how do you avoid being sidelined by an injury?

Follow these five tips, and you’ll be well on your way:

1. Stay Balanced! Be sure to incorporate a good mix of stretching,
flexibility exercises and cardiovascular activity. The more well
rounded the exercise program, the less likely you are to sustain
an injury.

2. Variety is the Spice of Life! Mix it up a little bit. Don’t
do the same routine every day. Walk a few days a week, bike or go
to the gym and use the treadmill. By doing this, you accomplish two
things: You’re less likely to get bored with your routine and
quit, and by varying more likely to avoid injuries stemming from
overused muscles.

3. Stay Loose! Stretching seems to help keep injuries at bay. Tightness
can spell disaster, and since muscle tissue elasticity decreases
with age, older muscles are even more at risk.

4. Gear Up! Go for the bicycle helmet, make sure running shoes fit
properly and by all means, wear the wrist, elbow and kneepads while
skating or roller blading. Safety equipment can keep you out of the
emergency room and into your routine.

5. Take Your Time! Don’t try to do too much at once. Limit
yourself to increases of just 10% per week. For example if you’re
running for 20 minutes one week, increase to just 22 minutes the
next, and build from there. A rapid ramp up can be a real shock to
your system.
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