Sports Injuries and the Aging Athlete
Age and Sports Injuries
Another important issue for older athletes is that of injury. Statistically, older athletes are much more likely to injure themselves than younger athletes who are doing the same sport. On the positive side, however, it has been found that even accounting for their increased likelihood of injury, older runners tend to be physically better off than the average person of their age.5
As with all athletes, a careful warm-up period with stretching exercises is key to reducing the chance of injury. Below we will discuss some general musculoskeletal problems faced by the older athlete and then examine the kinds of specific injuries that are common in older people who engage in running, swimming, cycling, climbing and golf…
What Happens To The Aging Body—A Guide for Athletes (And Everyone Else!)
Specifically designed for older adults and senior athletes, musculoskeletal specialist and sports medicine doctor Naomi L. Albertson, M.D. details the effects of aging on the body, highlighting the changes to cells, bones, muscles, and joints—with tips for minimizing those effects, improving performance for athletes, and staying strong and active with age…
NEW RESEARCH SHOWS: MUSCLE LOSS IS NOT INEVITABLE
Aging Well Through Exercise
Is physical frailty inevitable as we grow older? That question preoccupies scientists and the middle-aged, particularly when they become the same people. Until recently, the evidence was disheartening. A large number of studies in the past few years showed that after age 40, people typically lose 8 percent or more of their muscle mass each decade, a process that accelerates significantly after age 70. Less muscle mass generally means less strength, mobility and among the elderly, independence. It also has been linked with premature mortality.
“We think these are very encouraging results,” said Dr. Vonda Wright, an orthopedic surgeon and founder of the Performance and Research Initiative for Masters Athletes at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, who oversaw the study. “They suggest strongly that people don’t have to lose muscle mass and function as they grow older. The changes that we’ve assumed were due to aging and therefore were unstoppable seem actually to be caused by inactivity. And that can be changed.”
“What we can say with certainty is that any activity is better than none,” Dr. Wright says, “and more is probably better than less. But the bigger message is that it looks as if how we age can be under our control. Through exercise, you can preserve muscle mass and strength and avoid the decline from vitality to frailty.”
Age-Related Muscle Loss Happens Sooner Than You Think. Here’s How to Stop It
Age-related muscle loss, known as sarcopenia, happens as you get older — and it starts much earlier than you think. After the sprite age of 30, you lose as much as 3-8% of your muscle mass with each passing decade, and the decline worsens after age 60. Sarcopenia doesn’t just affect your athletic performance or how you look in a swimsuit. It also impacts your longevity. Sarcopenia, the major cause of frailty as you age, leads to falls and broken hips, and even prevents you from fully recovering after those tumbles. In other words, it leaves you enfeebled as a senior, when you should be enjoying those golden years.