One thing we have learned from the older generations such as the baby boomers is that getting old is sometimes just a state of mind. As this gaggle of go-getters powered along coining phrases like ’40 is the new 30′ and challenging anyone to tell them they were getting old it provided an opportunity for some of us a generation behind them to take notes and study the results.
So what have we learned?
Put simply, regardless of what your mind might tell you, your body is still aging. People who push themselves over aggressively as they age are prime candidates for a new type of injury called Boomeritis.
This is a general term coined back in early 2000 that is defined as sports related injuries suffered by babyboomers. They include things like sprains, strains, tendinitis, and similar types of injuries. Why are we more prone to injury as we age? Sadly it is just a function of our bodies slowly breaking down and then pushing yourself like you are 20 or 30.
- Slower recovery times
- Loss of flexibility
- Joints to have reduced lubrication (arthritis)
- Reduced elasticity and flexibility in tendons and ligaments
- Lowered testosterone production (men)
- Slower metabolism
Does that mean that you should not try to keep yourself healthy and fit as you move on past your 40’s? Of course not. But you need to work with a slightly different plan for expectations and goals than you did when younger.
You simply can’t workout as hard or as often as you get older. Typically speaking it is better to use slightly higher repetitions to avoid stress on joint from heavy weights. You also need more recovery time between workouts. High intensity is fine but it needs to be coupled with proper rest. If you also do other activities such as running, cycling, or hiking then those need to be considered as part of your fitness routine instead of in addition too. That way you will not over-tax you system.
This is an absolute must as you age. Yoga is a great idea as well as regular morning and evening stretching to go along with post workout stretches. You can keep your flexibility as you age but it takes more work. However keeping yourself loose will prevent some age related injuries.
Unlike in the younger days, proper rest must be taken all the time. If you do more than your body can handle then it will set back progress and take even longer to recover. When you were younger staying out all night wasn’t a big deal because you could sleep 8 hours the next day and feel fine. If you do that when you are 40 usually it takes 2-3 days of regular sleep before your body catches up. You just don’t have the same reserves anymore.
The same thing goes for injuries. You need to take complete time off to rest and recover 100%. Coming back too soon will just aggravate the injury and possibly cause improper healing. None of that will help you.
Proper diet and supplements are even more crucial as your body really needs a proper balance of vitamins and minerals to maintain it as you age. Sure, it might seem a bit silly taking 3 pills at breakfast and 4 at lunch each day, but if they help you live life to the fullest for another 30 years then that is a great trade-off.
Things like boomeritis do exist. You sometimes forget that you are getting older because you choose to ignore the fact acting like it isn’t true. But, time marches on. The only thing we can do is prepare properly and follow a good program to keep us marching (or running) with it and not behind.