As we age, it’s natural for our bodies to gradually change. One thing that stays the same though is the need for regular exercise. When the body matures, muscles may tighten and joints can begin to ache. Our tendons and ligaments may lose some of their elasticity, which can lead to reduced range of motion, and muscle loss is common as well.
This makes the need for regular exercise all the more important. Working out can significantly slow this muscle loss and keep muscle tissues from weakening over time. Staying active and exercising is crucial for maintaining physical and mental well-being as we age, though the older we get, the more at risk we are to experience an injury.
The most common exercise-related injuries for older adults include sprains (stretching or tearing of a ligament) and strains (stretching or tearing of a muscle or tendon) in the shoulders, knees and ankles. These injuries may only cause minor soreness or stiffness, but they also reduce a person’s ability to get the exercise needed to maintain mental and physical well-being as they age.
Following these simple tips can help reduce your injury risk while exercising and keep you on your feet:
Get a Sports Physical in Advance
The first step towards avoiding injury is making sure that you’re initially healthy enough to exercise. Sports physicals conducted at Abraham Family Medicine measure a patient’s overall fitness to determine if they are in good health to actively exercise or play a sport. In the case that the patient cannot pass his or her sports physical, Dr. Abraham can offer treatment options and nutrition advice to get them back on the right track.
Warm Up & Cool Down
Like the old saying goes, you have to crawl before you can walk. Cold muscles are more susceptible to injury, which is why warming up with stretching and some light jogging or walking is highly recommended. The same goes for cooling down when your workout is complete to give your body time to recover.
Spread out Your Work Outs
It’s better to get some exercise daily than it is to compress a week’s worth of exercise into 1 or 2 sessions. We recommend at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity daily. This can include everyday tasks like walking the dog, working in the garden, playing outside with your kids, or a friendly game of sport like tennis or golf.
Don’t Overexert Yourself
As you age, you may realize that your body doesn’t have the same strength and stamina that it did when you were younger. Don’t feel bad, it’s only natural. Though with that in mind, it’s wise to temper your activity in order to accommodate your body’s needs and not push yourself too hard.
We hope these tips have been helpful and you to remember that staying active can help keep you happy and healthy as you age. When performed in a safe, responsible manner, the benefits are endless. For more information on sports physicals or if you have experienced a sports injury, please contact Abraham Family Medicine to schedule an appointment.