photo_treadmillBaby Boomers, the legendary generation born between 1946 and 1964, challenge the traditional view of aging. While past generations have accepted aging passively, Boomers approach it actively, pursuing personal fitness and sports as diligently as they did when in their twenties. This hard-hitting attitude has landed many Boomers in sports medicine offices for treatment of the various injuries collectively called Boomeritis ™

Boomeritis ™, as defined by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, is the classification of sports related injuries suffered by Baby Boomers, including joint aches, pains, bursitis, tendonitis, arthritis, sprains, strains, and stress fractures. Baby Boomers, particularly weekend warriors, are intent on maintaining highly active lifestyles and performing at peak levels. Although in the process, they don’t often realize that along with age comes biological changes. Joints have less lubrication and muscles have less elasticity. These conditions result in decreased flexibility and lengthened recovery time from physical activity – two factors that should be considered wisely when undertaking any fitness or sports program. The effect of ignoring these factors is certain to cause injury.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that there were slightly more than 365,000 sports-related injuries to Baby Boomers in 1998, which is an increase of 33% over 1991. According to a 2003 survey by National Ambulatory Medical Care, sports injuries were the Number 2 reason for visits to a doctor’s office, second only to the common cold. While regular exercise improves muscle and joint function, in addition to decreasing the risk of heart attack and stroke painful injuries such as stress fractures and tendonitis can result from repetitive motion and overuse of muscles and tendons.

Relative to the increase of sport injuries, the doctors at Bay area Orthopaedic Sports and Spine suggest staying active with a modified approach. An integral part of this approach is knowing your body and being aware of its limitations; working with a certified athletic trainer can help. A trainer can assess your musculoskeletal system and customize a program that takes your physical limitations into account. Also varying your fitness routine by incorporating cardiovascular exercise, strength training and stretching can lessen your chances of injury. By eliminating downtime associated with overuse injuries, your can increase your enjoyment of sports and fitness activities for many years into the future.

Seven Tips to Keep You Safe and Active

  1. Always take time to warm up and stretch before any physical activity
  2. Don’t be an eternal weekend warrior. Try to perform at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity each day.
  3. Learning a new sport or activity? Take lessons and invest in good equipment.
  4. Listen to your body. Doing so will help you to prevent injury by modifying your activity to accommodate you body’s needs.
  5. Develop a balanced fitness program incorporating cardiovascular exercise, strength training and stretching.
  6. Add new activities and exercises cautiously. Add no more than one or two activities per workout.
  7. If you have experienced a sports injury, consult an Orthopaedic doctor who can help design a fitness routine that promotes wellness and minimizes the chance of re-injury.