So what if it’s been a while since you played football or a game of hoops? You were a star years ago, and even though you’ve aged a little bit since then, you’re confident you’ll be able to easily put in as much effort as when you were younger.
Unfortunately, the baby boomer’s body can’t compete with the baby boomer’s eagerness to jump into an athletic activity, especially if he’s spent years being inactive.
But why is that?
“The average age of baby boomers is about 60 years old, so the most common reason for increased injuries is because of wear and tear commonly seen with aging,” said Dr. Shyam Brahmabhatt, an orthopaedic surgeon at Abington-Jefferson Health specializing in Sports Medicine and Arthroscopic surgery. “Also, since they’re more active than previous generations, their bodies may not get the adequate healing time required between sporting activities.”
And the more baby boomers are involved in a sporting activity, the more they’re at risk of getting injured. Dr. Brahmabhatt says the most common injuries among this age group include ankle sprains, overuse tendinitis, meniscal tears, hip labral tears, wrist sprains, tennis elbow, rotator cuff tears and the flare-up of arthritic joints.
Unlike a teenager who can strengthen and cardio train at a moment’s notice and easily recover the next day, baby boomers require a longer resting period after an activity. Additionally, some of the injuries experienced by older individuals are simply much more common than those in teenagers, such as a rotator cuff tear.
“However, with the appropriate amount of rest, anti-inflammatory [medicine], braces (for tennis elbow), and if needed, physical therapy, a baby boomer can stay out on the field longer,” said Dr. Brahmabhatt. While surgery is sometimes required to repair an injury, he says today’s minimally invasive procedures make it easier for people to return to their active lifestyles much more quickly.
So how can you prevent these types of injuries?
The best thing you can do is to stay fit and healthy with regular exercise and a balanced, nutritional diet. While weight control is often a struggle for many individuals, it can also help reduce pain in arthritic joints, such as the knees and hips.
Also, make sure you take time to warm up before any physical activity, which can consist of running or walking in place for five minutes and gentle stretching, and take time to cool down after your main activity is over. Be sure to give your body a chance to heal by allowing for the appropriate amount of rest between activities
If you do experience aches and pains that don’t go away after taking over-the-counter medication and resting for a few days, be sure to see a doctor to address the issue.