“Boomeritis” refers to injuries to older amateur athletes from the baby boomer generation. In this Mind Your Body episode, I interviewed Dr. Moshe Lewis, a California pain management and rehabilitation specialist who most often treats baby boomers with back and knee pain—as the body ages, wear and tear happen. To counter aging, he recommends the triple threat of 1) heat to increase blood flow 2) ice for its natural anti-inflammatory powers and 3) activities in water to maintain buoyancy and offset gravity.
Are you a well-intentioned “weekend warrior?” Great! You’re receiving benefits that boost mood, reduce stress, increase muscle and cardiovascular health and provide social stimulation. Sporting on weekends only, however, increases the risk of a muscle strain, ligament tear or joint injury. To keep problems at bay, Dr. Lewis recommends that you…
1. Reach for the Sky: Stretching is the first step in a warm-up routine to prepare the muscles for the work they are going to do and prevent muscle strain injuries. More advanced stretching exercises like yoga and Pilates also improve your balance, core strength, back strength and conditioning for the spine.
2. Pump It Up: Strength training builds endurance, providing resistance for muscles to function at their full capacity. To build strength and bulk, gradually move to higher weights with fewer repetitions. When using heavier weights, don’t forget to rest and pace yourself.
3. Know Your Condition: Even slight, simple aerobic conditioning will change both your weekend performance and your everyday energy level. Activities like light jogging, hiking and rowing are easy, low-impact ways to optimize cardiovascular health and limit damage to the cartilage and joints while burning calories, thereby mobilizing muscles naturally. Aerobic fitness classes, dance classes, golf, tennis and cross-country skiing provide sound cross-training of multiple muscle groups simultaneously.
4. Consider Supplements: From Omega 3s to glucosamine to antioxidants to vitamin D, the right nutrition and dietary supplements can make a big difference in your sports performance and your general wellbeing. Always consult your doctor first.
5. Have Happy Feet, Healthy Feet: Good ergonomics, posture and even shoes can make or break your technique. Consider seeing a podiatrist for advice on inserts and shoe wear, especially if you have foot pain. An investment in proper foot support encourages long-term orthopedic health.
6. Follow the Fun Factor: It’s far easier to keep up on your regular conditioning if you genuinely enjoy it and look forward to it. Mix it up and try different activities like swing dancing, Zumba, kayaking or dog Frisbee—the last one is another great reason to adopt a dog from a shelter!