Exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. However, no matter how athletic you may have been during your youth, it’s important to understand limitations as we age. When it comes to aging athletes, injuries are especially critical to consider since they take longer to heal from. Aging also results in losing bone and muscle mass, slowing of the heart rate, and reaction time. Because of this, it’s important to take steps to protect yourself from orthopaedic injuries. Fortunately, it’s possible to stay active while remaining safe.
What Are Orthopaedic Injuries Seen in Aging Athletes?
While leading an active lifestyle is commendable, aging increases the risk of potential injury, and older athletes must be careful about what they can and cannot handle. Some of the most common orthopaedic injuries in aging athletes are ACL injuries, meniscus tears, and cartilage damage. These can occur when athletes twist their knees, when cartilage wears down, and during muscle sprains. The key to avoiding orthopaedic injuries as an aging athlete is prioritizing joint care and regularly seeing healthcare professionals specializing in sports medicine for preventive care.
Tips for Preventing Orthopaedic Injuries
The following are some of the tips aging athletes can use to prevent orthopaedic injuries.
Stretch, Warm Up, and Cool Down
Aging athletes should always take the time to stretch and warm up before beginning physical activity. Since cold muscles are more prone to injury, it’s important to first warm up for 3-5 minutes and then stretch before starting exercise. After the physical activity, it’s important to cool down and stretch again. In addition to preparing your body for future activity, a proper warm-up and cool-down enable easier recovery from exercise.
Don’t Overdo It
One simple way aging athletes can avoid orthopaedic injuries is by not overdoing it. Instead of trying to fit a week’s worth of physical activity in a single day, they should break it up into smaller sections. It’s important to remember that moderate physical activity also counts as physical activity and can include everything from walking to taking the stairs.
Athletes also shouldn’t overdo it when increasing activity levels. Instead of drastically changing activity levels, they should do so incrementally. This applies to everything from the number of miles one hikes to the weights one increases.
Rest Muscles After Working Out
Many aging athletes focus on strength training but forget that their age makes them more prone to repetitive motion injuries. It’s important to take time to recover after working out. Letting your body rest sufficiently prepares it for future workouts. This includes adequate sleep since rejuvenation and repair happen during deep sleep.
Take Orthopaedic Care Seriously
Regular orthopaedic checkups are important to your overall healthcare, especially as you age. Making such appointments ensures you’re tackling any signs of orthopaedic injuries early on instead of letting them worsen over time. Minor injuries can turn into major ones if they’re not addressed early.
If you’re suffering from orthopaedic injuries or need any kind of orthopaedic care, it’s important to place your trust in an experienced and board-certified orthopaedic surgeon. Dr. Keith Nelson, MD, has over 22 years of experience in orthopaedic injuries and sports medicine and specializes in knee, hip, and shoulder pain. Whether it’s a routine checkup or orthopaedic surgery, Dr. Nelson can help you remain healthy and active. Make an appointment by calling 435-774-8511 or schedule one online here.