Adults lose 10% of their strength and endurance every decade after the age of 30. They experience a 30% decline in muscle power each decade, too. As a result, seniors experience decreased physical function, which often leads to falls and injuries.
In fact, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall every 11 seconds.
You don’t have to stop participating in the sports and activities you love, even as you get older. Instead, use these six tips to avoid sports injuries as you age.
With these tips, you can remain physically active without worrying about the increased risk of an injury. Instead, you can stay strong, fit, and mobile.
Keep playing the games you love! Start improving your health with these six simple tips today.
1. Stretch and Rest
Our bodies get less flexible as we continue to age. Before participating in your favorite sports, make sure to stretch. Stretching daily can keep your muscles loose.
It can also help you maintain a full range of motion in your joints before you start playing.
Over the years, repetitive movements (such as swinging a bat, golf club, or tennis racket) can cause muscles to become tight. Repeat motions can cause your muscles to become shorter over time as well. A sense of imbalance between the right and left sides of your body might develop as a result.
Stretching each day before you start playing could help address muscular imbalances.
Otherwise, continuing to play and participate in athletic endeavors without stretching could make the imbalance worse.
Take the time to develop a routine stretching regimen. Consider consulting a licensed physical therapist. They can help you develop a customized stretch routine.
You can target specific muscle areas based on your health, mobility, and range of motion. Working with a physical therapist can ensure you target the imbalances you’ve developed, too.
After playing your favorite sports, make sure to rest as well. Resting after working out will give your body time to record. Otherwise, you might risk playing unintentional stress on your joints and muscles.
Developing a stretch regimen and giving your muscles time to repair could help you avoid sports injuries. It can help minimize the pain you experience after playing, too.
2. Consider Your Diet
Consider working with a doctor or dietitian to adjust your diet this year. Our bodies require the right balance of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to remain in peak performance.
Make sure to drink water to remain hydrated as well. Water also flushes out toxins from the body.
Consider having a light snack or small meal one to two hours before working out or playing sports. Eating right before could cause stomach problems. As you exercise, blood moves to your muscles, leaving less for digestion.
Before working out, consider consuming carbs. Your muscles use the glucose in carbs as fuel for your game-play.
Make sure to add protein to your diet, too. Eating protein before exercising can increase muscle protein synthesis. Protein can also:
- Improve muscle recovery
- Produce a better anabolic response (muscle growth)
- Increase muscle performance
- Boost strength and lean body mass
Improving your strength could help you avoid sports injuries.
Eating after athletic endeavors is important as well.
After playing, make sure to refuel to rebuild muscle tissue. Your muscles use up their glycogen as you play, leaving them partially depleted. Some of the proteins within your muscles could become damaged as a result.
Consuming carbs and protein after a workout can enhance your recovery. It can also decrease muscle protein breakdown while restoring glycogen stores. A nutritious meal can increase muscle protein synthesis (growth) as well.
Use protein to repair and build muscle, along with carbs to boost recovery. You can also consume healthy fats like avocado, nuts, or nut butters.
Don’t forget antioxidants! Antioxidants can fight oxidative stress from free radicals. Otherwise, oxidative stress can cause chronic fatigue and other problems.
Antioxidants like vitamins C and E can minimize inflammation as well, which could reduce muscle soreness after gameplay.
3. Consult a Physical Therapist
If you’re looking for ways to improve your physical and mental health, consider consulting a physical therapist. Their experience and expertise can help you avoid movement problems. They can help you manage your pain and maintain mobility as you get older, too.
Physical therapy can help improve your:
- Range of motion
Remaining strong can help you avoid potential sports injuries. You can work with a licensed physical therapist to develop a customized treatment plan. Your PT will consider your goals, challenges, and personal needs.
Their advice could help you manage your pain without the risks of opioid use or surgery, too.
4. Add Strength Training to the Routine
Consider adding strength training to your workout routine. Otherwise, you might push your body too hard, increasing the risk of injury.
Work with an experienced trainer to develop a customized strength training program. Their expertise will ensure you don’t injure yourself using the wrong technique. The right types of training can help combat the loss of bone density, too.
5. Improve Your Technique
If you want to avoid a potential injury, make sure you’re using the right technique.
For example, you’ll want to avoid overbending your knees or twisting them too quickly. Make sure to play on flat surfaces to avoid twisting an ankle. Consider playing on soft surfaces, too.
Learning how to use the proper technique can help you avoid an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear or other common injuries.
6. Wear the Right Gear
Are you wearing protective gear each time you play? Make sure you’re wearing the right gear for your sport of choice. Protective gear can help prevent new injuries.
It could even keep existing injuries from getting worse.
Make sure you’re wearing the proper shoes, too!
Work Up a Sweat: 6 Ways to Avoid Sports Injuries as You Age
You don’t have to give up your favorite sports as you get older. Instead, use these tips to avoid future sports injuries. With these tips, you can play safe, improve your strength, and remain healthy.
Want to develop a customized routine with a licensed physical therapist? We’re here to help.
Contact us today to get started.