Avoiding Injury: Aging Adults
For many of us, getting older means a reduction in physical activity. The less activity we get, the more our muscles atrophy (weaken, deteriorate) and the more deconditioned our cardiovascular system becomes. Not getting any exercise can make it very easy to get injured doing routine tasks like bending over to tie your shoes. Recovering from injury also takes longer as we age.
: Being out of shape can result in poor health and injury. Poor health and injury can lead to more doctor visits, more hospitalizations and more medications to treat related illnesses and injuries.
Have hope – a silver lining can be found in this dark cloud! There are a number of things you can do to avoid injuries that won’t require a large financial investment like a gym membership, special equipment or a trainer. The internet is chocked full of resources that can help educate yourself on health, fitness, nutrition and preventing injury. Who knows – you may find activities that you really enjoy doing and it won’t even seem like exercise!
For those looking to start exercising, gentle stretching and walking are two free and easy activities that can help condition your body to prevent injury. You can do both of these activities almost anywhere and at any time! Your doctor may be able to provide you with stretching instructions if you’re unable to access the internet.
If you want something a little more intense, look into individual or team sports such as golf, tennis, softball or volleyball. Or try more rigorous cardiovascular activities like jogging, elliptical training, etc. Strength training is a great way of keeping your muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones conditioned.
Exercise may provide the following benefits:
- Maintain or lose weight
- Reduce the impact of illness and chronic disease
- Enhance mobility, flexibility, and balance
- Reduce blood pressure and stress
Being sedentary and getting no exercise is more risky than becoming active. The pros outweigh the cons by a substantial amount. You don’t need to run a marathon or lift heavy weights to get in shape. There are plenty of low impact activities that will provide adequate conditioning and reduce your chances of injury. When starting any new exercise program, always consider consulting your doctor beforehand. Get moving!