Lauren Stanforth (Times Union: Albany, N.Y. January 6, 2008) used the term “boomeritis” to describe the aging baby boomers and their drive for physical fitness. Basically the term refers to the people in their 40s and older who are now experiencing muscle, joint and bone problems for their efforts.
It takes a lot of interest and a lot of exercise to maintain a certain level of fitness. People today all understand the benefits of an active lifestyle. The problem is that many people over 40 try to maintain this level of fitness by doing the same activities that they did twenty years ago. The intentions are good, but most people don’t take into account that their bodies are not the same as they used to be.
Physicians, of course, stress the avoidance of injury. They recommend lower-impact activities to relieve stress on the joints. They encourage more flexibility training and core strengthening; things you took for granted when you were younger. When you were younger fitness meant bigger muscle. Now that you are getting older you need to focus more balance and your cardiovascular system.
Stretching the Achilles tendon, stretching the shoulders and stretching the back is important. Flexibility is also important, especially for the back. “Boomeritis:” basically refers to the bumps, bruises, and tendonitis that people are plagued with as they get older. A lot of these injuries have to do with the biology of people’s tendons and muscles. Aging muscles and joints are not able to withstand the force of what you are asking them to do.
USA Weekend (May 13-15, 2011) ran an article based on adv ice from The Doctors (daytime TV show) on how to avoid sports injuries. If you are a seasonal exerciser and have been waiting for warm summer days to arrive; you may be an accident (or a pain) waiting to happen. The “all or nothing at all” approach to exercise sets you up for the sprains and strains, knee and tendon injuries, swollen muscles, shin splints, fractures and dislocations (ouch, it makes me shutter just to write those words) that we were talking about. Basically you need to prepare yourself for summer baseball, bicycling, golf, tennis, running or a dozen other activities long before you head out the door. Their advice:
- Schedule a physical. Get a checkup before starting a new sport or fitness program, especially if you haven’t exercised for 3 months or have a new medical condition.
- Build up slowly. This is the thing that most of us don’t do. Sports medicine folks recommending increasing your level of activity no more than 10% per week. If you could only run a quarter of a mile this week you aren’t going to be ready to do a mile tomorrow. Increase a few minutes at a time until you reach your goal. Mix up your routine with a variety of low impact activities.
- If you plan on playing a sport (repetitive movements can do you in quickly). It is important to strengthen the muscles before hand.
- The experts all recommend a 10 minute warm up to increase blood flow to the muscles, and a 10 minute cool down to gradually reduce the temperature of the muscles.