You like sports and want to play in an organized league or in an internal competition.
It’s a great idea. You will get a lot of exercise and have fun doing it.
Just be aware of potential injuries and take the necessary precautions – especially if you are said to be 50 years or older Matthew Axtman, DO, Specialist in sports medicine with Spectrum Health Orthopedics.
“People can do what they want, within reason,” said Dr. Axman. “I will not place any restrictions on them. It’s important to keep moving and staying active.
“However, seniors need to remember that it is more difficult for them to gain and maintain muscle mass than younger people,” he said. “As we age, we are more prone to pain and arthritic changes in the joints.”
Different sports, different effects
Dr. Axtman recommends that you choose your sport wisely.
Some sports have more of an impact on your body than others. In general, low-impact sports – bowling, weight lifting, walking, swimming – have a far lower risk of injury than high-impact sports.
Pickleball, which is very popular with seniors, and racquetball are more powerful sports due to the side-to-side and front-to-back movements. Frequent running can make people more prone to knee injuries and sometimes shoulder problems.
Sports with higher loads – for example basketball and soccer – cause injuries more often than activities with low loads.
Dr. Axtman urges people to be aware of possible injuries and try to maintain good bone and muscle structure and stability of the joints.
“There is no one hundred percent way to avoid injury,” he said. “Everyone from elementary school children to the elderly should take precautions to reduce the possibility of harming themselves.”
Warm up, hydration
Cross training is especially important.
People who play pickleball for several hours a day are more likely to develop a shoulder injury due to the repetitive movements, said Dr. Axman. Weight lifting, swimming, and other activities that target different muscles can all help prevent serious damage.
Hydration and warming up are important for all those who do exercise, especially seniors, said Phillip Adler, PhD, a licensed sports trainer and operations manager for Spectrum Health Orthopedic Outreach.
This includes stretching exercises and warm-up swings with rackets, as well as walks across the square or field to loosen up the muscles.
“If you expect to get out of your car and just play, you increase your chances of injury,” said Dr. Eagle. “You never see high school or college team players getting off the bus and going out onto the field to compete.
“They come out to do pre-game warm-ups – and these are highly trained young athletes,” he said. “You can’t expect our weekend warriors to take part in some of these activities without warming up, followed by a cool-down.”
Dr. Axtman offers additional advice to people aged 50 and over.
“To do a sport, it really comes down to where you feel you can function and where your body is,” he said. “Know your skills. A 60-year-old playing in 20-year-old leagues is generally not a good idea. “
Choose a sport that you enjoy and ask your doctor about it.
Your doctor “knows you best and may have some options for you,” said Dr. Axman. “Whichever sport you choose, be careful not to over-exert yourself, which could lead to injuries. Find the joy of life that is active but safe. “
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