Exercise Injuries: Too Much, Too Soon
Milano, Medical Writer
boomers trying to stay fit are hiring personal trainers, taking
up new sports, and launching ambitious exercise programs. But
too many of us are ending up with injuries from overuse of muscles
and joints, victims of "too much, too soon."
Actually, overeager exercisers
of any age are susceptible to the "too much, too soon"
syndrome. But boomers in particular must be sure to heed the
demands of their unforgiving "parents": Mother Nature
and Father Time. That¡s because the younger you are, the
more resilient your body is. But as we age, we gradually lose
strength and flexibility, leaving us more susceptible to injury
if we choose an inappropriate activity, exercise too intensely,
exercise for too long or too often, or even switch to a new surface.
The Women's Sports Medicine
Center, Hospital for Special Surgery, New York City, offers expert
advice on how to get in shapeÂor stay in shapeÂwithout
a Body Inventory
Before beginning any fitness
program, inventory your entire body: neck, shoulders, trunk,
wrists, knees, feet, heart, lungs, etc. Is there a weak link?
If you have a medical condition that might be made worse by exercise
(for example, asthma or chronic knee pain), check with a doctor.
You may need to strengthen a weak area before you start, or you
may need guidelines for setting up a program that will work for
you even if you have a particular health concern.
When people decide to get into
shape, the initial burst of enthusiasm can actually cause problems
later. Don't start out by exercising for an hour at a time. Don¡t
work out every day at first, or even every other day. The key
the Talk Test
When you are doing any cardiovascular
activity (such as jogging or rowing), it¡s OK to feel slightly
out of breath, and your heart should beat faster than usual.
But if you gasp for air when you try to talk at the same time
you are exercising, your pace is too fast.
"No Pain, No Gain"
Don¡t listen to anyone
who says you should just "run through the pain." According
to exercise physiologist Robyn Stuhr, from the Women¡s
Sports Medicine Center, "Pain means something is going wrong
in your body! You're harming a muscle, a tendon, a joint."
If you don¡t stop when something hurts, you risk serious
the Right Exercise Partner
Is your spouse a more serious
athlete than you are? If you still want to exercise together,
pace yourself. Take breaks until you're in good enough shape
to follow a demanding program. At the gym, don't just imitate
that big strong guy nearby--he may have been working out for
|The best fitness
programs combine three types of exercise: cardiovascular (aerobic),
weight training, and flexibility work.