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exercising in your 40s

Thanks to more education on the subject, more people, especially those over 40 know the many benefits that exercising brings us.

Regular exercise severely cuts the risk of developing age, and obesity-related, potentially killer diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and many more.

Outdoor sports such as jogging, cycling and golf have become very popular with the over 40s, and there’s also been a boom in the more body-conscious over 40s joining gyms.

The good news is that more over 40s are taking control and more responsibility for their health and fitness, by exercising regularly to become fitter and stronger and improve their cardiovascular health.

However, with more over 40s exercising, the number of injuries relating to these activities are also rising. This is because as we age, our susceptibility to injuries rises proportionately, because our bodies degenerate in line with the natural aging process, even though regular exercise is known to slow this degeneration down.

The threat of injury is particularly high for those ‘weekend warriors’. Those who take to the running tracks, lift weight, or even don Lycra and go out on their bikes and exercise with gusto during the weekend only. These sudden, intense bursts of unaccustomed activities puts their aging bodies and joints under increased stress, and can unknowingly cause damage.

What are the most common sports injuries in the over 40s?

Shoulder injuries

These are a common type of injury in those who play badminton, squash and tennis, or those who lift weights in the gym and use the wrong form and bad technique.

Elbow injuries

Another common injury for racket game players, and also body builders.

Back injuries

When you hit 40, back pain can be caused by anything, including sitting down for too long at your desk. However, serious back injury can occur in the gym when the over-40 wannabe bodybuilder tries to keep up with the 20-somethings.

Back injury is also a common occurrence for players of that well-known middle-age sport, golf, especially those who swing their spine.

Knee injuries

Knee injuries can occur to those who participate in sports with sudden movements and changes of direction, such as squash or football. So before you sign up to the office Tuesday night 5-a-side football league, make sure you are fit enough.

Ankle injuries

This type of injury usually strikes the joggers and long-distance runners.

How can I avoid injuring myself?

There’s no risk-free guarantee with anything in this life. But the surest way to help yourself try to avoid injury is to use your common sense. This is something that we all know we should use, but very few people do, in any area of their life these days, let alone exercising.

By exercising your common sense when you approach exercising, you can help yourself avoid injury. For example, if you’re already experiencing back twinges, going to play 18-holes of golf probably isn’t the most sensible thing to do. Likewise, if your shoulder is feeling a bit sore, don’t try and be a hero lifting weight and thinking that ‘no pain no gain’ is the way to go. All you will end up doing is potentially injuring yourself and risking weeks, or months out of exercising as a result.

Other practical things you can do to help avoid injury are:

  • Warm up the muscles and joints properly before starting the exercise, whether it’s a jog, a gym sessions or a game of football in the park.
  • Stretch correctly, this means no bouncing into the stretch. Many people have bad stretching techniques, which can cause additional injury.
  • Take it slowly. Everyone has to start at the beginning. There’s no sense trying to tackle a 5k run, if you’ve never even run to catch a train before. Take your time with exercise, start slow and make progress every single time you exercise.
  • Exercise regularly and not just at the weekend. Incorporate more exercise into every day, even if it’s just going for a walk at lunchtime, or getting off the bus a stop earlier and walking to the office. If you just restrict your exercising to the weekend, your body may not be able to cope with the sudden burst of activity.
  • Find a personal trainer who can tailor an exercise program to your needs and health condition, and more importantly guide you safely through the exercises.

Exercising is important and the aim is to be fit and healthy through your 40s and beyond, and not to become a victim to injury and pain.

If you’re interested in improving your health and fitness, but the thought of the gym leaves you, why not give Combat Arts a try? With small group classes and 1-2-1 personal training we’ve got you covered. Email gordon@combatartsuk.com to discuss your needs today.

Post Author: Gordon McAdam

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