Exercise in the Mature Athlete

This program is specifically designed for the individual who wants to stay active and maintain a healthy lifestyle. As we get older, we face a dilemma. Our concept of exercise and activity are set in our minds from the past. Or we have preconceived notions of what we want to be able to do. However, our bodies and joints are very much in the present tense. The body doesn’t always appreciate what you ask it to do. It responds with aches, pain and swelling, thus frustrating your goals and efforts.

Our family physician and cardiologist tells us to exercise for a healthy heart. The government tells us that we must exercise daily because we are too heavy. They issue guidelines, which are constantly being revised and seemingly increasing the time each day we should be active. Exercise facilities and clubs are multiplying and offer low rates for memberships, quick workouts and trainers available to help you. The media show active, athletic mature persons running, playing tennis, using machines and looking very happy and fit.

What to do?  How do I start?  What’s the right activity?

The concept is clear: be realistic, be smart and listen to your body.

Begin with an honest self-assessment. Evaluate where you are right now. Decide what you want to accomplish. Then decide on a way to get there. How would you assess your current fitness level?

  • Never or rarely exercised but want to become more active because your doctor told you that you should
  • Never or rarely exercised but want to start because of new found time like retirement, empty nest phenomenon, or just a New Year’s resolution
  • Not a club exerciser but consider yourself fairly active
  • You have a regular exercise routine or pattern usually a few times a week, i.e., exercise classes, tennis game, club membership, walking program with dog or friends
  • You consider yourself a pretty serious and experienced exerciser and have been for awhile

What is your current situation in terms of any symptoms?

  • Are you just getting started and having more aches and pains than you think you should?
  • Have you been at it for a while and only recently started having problems?
  • Did you start a new activity and are now having pain?

Begin in the beginning and set realistic goals for yourself. Remember, you didn’t get out of shape in a few months. Therefore, you will not get back into shape in a few months. You can’t pick up where you left off years ago. It will take you some time to get to where you would like to be. Don’t expect to be one of those amazing transformations like in the fitness ads in just 30 days!

  • First commit to finding time in your day or week to be active
  •  Second, find something either you enjoy or can do in a reasonably short time period like 30-45 minutes
  • Third eliminate the usual excuses for not exercising because they are numerous (it’s too far, I’m too tired, I just ate, I’m too busy). Put it in your calendar like an appointment.
  • If you set aside the time just do something even if it’s just stretching or really light exercise. Just keep yourself in the mindset to be more active than you have been.
  • Start with the basics:
    • Stretch
      • Static stretches, no bouncing
      • Work the calves/heel cords, the hamstrings, hip muscles, back/torso, shoulder
    • Warm up period
      •  A short period of sub maximal activity before you get into it. No sweating or shortness of breath
    • Do some exercises
      • Get into the meat of your exercise now. To gauge the effect check your pulse, see if you are sweating or just a little out of breath.
      • Guidelines for pulse rate (assuming you are not on medicines that regulate your heart rate) are 220-your age in years multiplied by 70-85% (if you are 50 years old that would be 220-50=170, times 70% or 119. Go higher if you can handle it.
    • Cool down (similar to warm up)
  • Develop a program like a test, try an activity and see the effect. If it feels good continue if not try something else.
  • Don’t be frustrated if you start to have some difficulties. Be flexible in concept of exercise (don’t always do one thing since it can get very boring), cross train (try different activities or machines)
    • If you start to get some aches and pains – Don’t just stop; reduce the intensity and/or frequency of your workouts and try again.

Don’t forget about the importance of proper equipment 

  •  Shoes are the most important piece of equipment
  • Don’t get out the old tennis shoes or worse yet “street shoes”
  • Go to an exercise store and get new cushioned, comfortable shoes appropriate for your activity
  • For any impact activity; walking, running, aerobics or dance class you need more cushioning
  • Additional store bought orthotics can also help to reduce impact stresses
  • Also remember to replace your shoes every 4-6 months. The “bounce” doesn’t last forever. The more active you are the more often they should be replaced.
  • Braces are not essential but can offer support to a “bad knee” or sore elbow
  • Golf shafts can be altered for a sore back, shoulder or elbow to help reduce recoil
  • Tennis racket materials and strings can be altered to help reduce transference of forces to your arm

Watch out for danger signs that should alert you to the onset of a problem. If these signs develop you should seek the attention of a physician who is familiar with exercising and can give advice to keep you on track.

  • Increasing pain with activities
  • Increasing pain despite decrease in activity
  • Pain with every day activity
  • Swelling of your joint
  • Loss of motion of a joint
  • Weakness in your shoulders or knee
  • Limping or difficulties with stairs, kneeling or squatting

What’s different about Performance Orthopedics? We believe in the motto, “If you can’t do what you want to do-then try something else. If you can’t do that then get it fixed!”

At Performance Orthopedics, our program consists of the following:

  • The evaluation
    • A good musculoskeletal examination to identify any areas of concern
    • A specific evaluation of your trouble spot
    • Proper x-rays and possibly additional studies to arrive at an accurate diagnosis.
  • Treatment can be any or all of the following:
    • Simple advice on your program or choice of activities o Physical therapy to improve flexibility and strength
    • Medical management
      • Injections
      • Medications
    • Surgical management
      • Minimally invasive arthroscopic techniques
      • Joint replacement
      • Partial
      • Complete or Total Joint Replacement with current devices
      • Ligament reconstruction

The experience for the mature athlete and the exercising adult at Performance Orthopedics is different for the following reasons:

  1. When you call Performance Orthopedics, you will be given a timely appointment. We’ll always make time for you at our office.
  2. When you call the office all employees will treat you with courtesy and respect.
  3. You will be evaluated by physicians with advanced training and experience in treating patients with your condition. We are committed to giving it our best shot at helping you to be active.

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