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Once upon a time, when people reached 50 years old, golf was just about the only sport anyone played. If golf wasn't an option, people could still try bocce ball, shuffle board or checkers. Times have changed. The baby boomer generation is known for being physically fit and remaining athletic and active. Boomers are training as triathletes, marathon runners and mountain climbers in greater numbers than any generation before them. Most boomers can look forward to decades of participation in sports and fitness activities, but bodies do change and boomers can stay active longer if they listen to their bodies and make sure their activities are appropriate to their age group.
After a certain age, you begin to hear or experience the symptoms of tendonitis, bursitis and arthritis. However, you may not be familiar with the term "boomeritis." "Boomeritis" is a syndrome experienced by boomers who develop injuries and suffer strain while overdoing exercise. "Weekend warriors" who expect their bodies to perform at top speed when they haven't moved a muscle since last week can also expect their bodies to object. Aching muscles and torn ligaments shouldn't surprise older athletes who think they don't need to warm up aging muscles, or who believe their bodies should perform like a teenager's. Boomers who don't exercise appropriately pop up at their doctor's office more frequently and come home with the same diagnosis: "boomeritis."
The Fabulous Four
Boomers who want their bodies to perform in top condition need to address four areas of fitness. Flexibility, cardiovascular exercise, balance and strengthening provide a vital combination that keeps joints lubricated, ligaments stretched and the heart and lungs in shape. The right equipment is also important. Older athletes are more likely to break bones and tear ligaments. Wear a helmet to protect your head and use wrist and knee braces for support. Remember that the sports you practiced when you were younger may not offer you the varied workout you need as a boomer. While you can still play team sports such as tennis, hockey, softball or basketball, there are alternative ways to exercise that are particularly valuable to boomers.
Try Something New
You don't need to run a punishing marathon to get a workout. Try different types of exercise and cross train for the best results. For help with flexibility and balance, enroll in a yoga class or practice the ancient martial art of Tai Chi. Have you ever heard of paddle boarding? This new sport requires strength and balance and will improve your core and upper body strength. Pilates is another workout that strengthens the core muscles and is a great way to protect you from back injuries. Swimming is an all-body work out that offers superb cardiovascular exercise without stressful impact on your joints.
Years of exercise will naturally put wear and tear on your joints. You can help prevent debilitating knee, elbow and back injuries by strengthening surrounding muscle groups that offer support to a potential problem area. If you experience pain while working out, don't push through the discomfort. Listen to your body and ease up. If the pain lingers, see a medical professional. Experts advise boomers to pay attention to changes in their bodies and take care of aches and pains before they turn into serious problems. If you have a deteriorating joint, for example, have it replaced before the condition worsens.