By J. Hunter Berry, M.D.. Merit Health Wesley
No matter where you look, baby boomers (born 1946-1964) are swimming, practicing Tai Chi, kickboxing, roller blading, playing softball and tennis, cycling, power walking, and more. A recent report from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons confirms that adults over age 50 are much more active today than in previous generations.
Unfortunately, as baby boomers age and their lives become busier, the regular exercise of their youth often gives way to a fit-it-in-when-you-can schedule. The term, “Weekend Warriors” is used to describe how individuals aggressively attack fitness when time permits—playing tennis three times a month, running, swimming or cycling on their days off, or tackling a rare weekend afternoon game of touch football.
Stiffened joints, aching muscles, and twisted ankles are often the badge of aging for these sporadic romps. In fact, behind the common cold, sports-related injuries are the #2 reason baby boomers visit the doctor, and are the reason why individuals as young as age 40 are working with rehabilitation professionals to alleviate related pain and discomfort.
Running, jumping, and pounding can easily damage tendons, cartilage, and bone. According to a report in the Annals of Internal Medicine, such injuries often lead to arthritis years down the road. It isn’t surprising that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predict the number of Americans with arthritis will jump from 50 to 67 million by 2030.
Arthritis often leads to debilitating knee and hip pain, and sometimes, to joint replacements. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, approximately 600,000 total knee replacements and 400,000 hip replacement procedures are performed each year—and that number is expected to rise. Some of the new materials for artificial knees and hips can last longer than the old ones—about 25 to 30 years, which is good news for individuals who undergo these procedures in their 50’s and 60’s, and who often return to the sports they love.
Playing it safe
The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons offers these tips to help patients avoid injuries:
• Before engaging in vigorous exercise, take the time to stretch your muscles. You should also warm up for three to five minutes with a walk, slow jog, or similar activity.
• Instead of pushing yourself to the limit two days a week, try to get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day.
• Use the 10 percent rule. If you want to boost your activity level, do it just 10 percent at a time. If you normally jog one mile a day, next try going 1.1 miles, not four.
• Invest in good equipment—and yourself. Good shoes and other gear often make the difference between a healthy workout and an injury. If you're taking up a new sport—tennis, for example—consider taking a class to learn the proper techniques to avoid injury.
A fitness program that combines several different kinds of exercises—including aerobic activity and strength training—will help you keep joints strong and flexible while reducing the risk of injury, especially from overuse.
In addition, it's a good idea to keep your weight down. The extra pounds associated with middle age can strain the joints, especially in the knees and hips. Over time, this strain may lead to arthritis. The good news is that even a small reduction in your waistline can lead to a big reduction in your risk. A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that women who lost an average of 11 pounds over 10 years cut their risk of osteoarthritis in the knee by half.
For additional information about arthritis, osteoarthritis or joint replacement surgery, visit www.MeritHealthWesley.com/orthopedic-services
Meet the team:
Jay Antinnes, M.D.
Rocco Barbieri, M.D.
Thomas Baylis, M.D.
J. Hunter Berry, M.D.
Constantine Charoglu, M.D.
Robert Dews, M.D.
Susi Folse M.D.
Neal Gregg, D.O.
John Kosko, M.D.
David Lee, M.D.
Lance Line, M.D.
Michael Patterson, M.D.
Rob Robertson, M.D.
Douglas Rouse, M.D.
James Sikes, M.D.
Michael Stonnington, M.D.
Ross Ward, M.D.
About Merit Health Wesley: Merit Health Wesley is committed to providing superior care to the Pine Belt and has been recognized for patient safety and top performance on key quality measures. Merit Health Wesley is the area’s first and only accredited Chest Pain Center and is the only area hospital to be accredited for Heart Failure care. For more information, call 601-268-8000 or visit MeritHealthWesley.com.
Remember that this information is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor, but rather to increase awareness and help equip patients with information and facilitate conversations with your physician that will benefit your health.
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