Tips for training and staying fit in your senior yearsPublished 9:20am Friday, October 4, 2013
Today, more and more seniors are participating in sports-related activities.
That’s great; I’ve witnessed some true physical transformations in those who didn’t even begin exercising until their late 70s.
However, some reports indicate sports-related injuries experienced by the elderly have increased by as much as 29 percent. Don’t fret, most injuries can be prevented by using a few simple precautions.
We need to realize that 50-year-old muscles and joints don’t often behave like those that are 20. As we age, we start to lose bone mass and density (especially in post-menopausal women), because our bodies lose calcium and other minerals. Cartilage and other connective tissues thin as well. This can lead to conditions like tendonitis, osteoporosis, bursitis and arthritis, but hope is not lost. Proper supplementation and exercise can absolutely help.
In addition to taking a good vitamin/mineral supplement, I recommend taking 1200-1500mg calcium a day. If your calcium source is calcium carbonate, take with food. If the calcium source you choose is calcium citrate, take on an empty stomach. Choose one or the other, not both.
For those of you who take coral calcium; its form is calcium carbonate. I also recommend 400-800IU of vitamin D, daily. Be sure to check with you doctor, as calcium supplements can sometimes interfere with absorption of certain medications, and your doctor may need to check for acceptable blood levels of vitamin D.
Exercise, particularly resistance (weight lifting) exercise, strengthens muscles, as well as bones and connective tissues. I’ve had clients who had never really exercised dramatically improve their bone density and health through exercising.
Here are a few tips for keeping safe while getting fit.
1. Warm up and stretch. When you stretch before working out, it’s not muscle you’re stretching, but rather tendons. Tendons hold muscles to bones, much like hinges hold a door to a wall. Tendons are much like leather in two ways. First, the more supple they are, the stronger they hold the joint, and much like leather, tendons can’t be conditioned in just one sitting, but need to be stretched and conditioned over and over again. Warming your body up before exercise serves several purposes.
As muscles are warmed, blood vessels dilate, which lowers stress on the heart. As blood is warmed through muscles, the binding of oxygen to hemoglobin is weakened, thereby releasing more available oxygen to nourish the body. Warming up before exercise also improves muscle elasticity, which helps establish better balance.