Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Time to get up... and do more than just walk

go-faster-stripes II
Originally uploaded by Norma Desmond.
For someone who has reached his mid-forties, I found this article, To Avoid ‘Boomeritis,’ Exercise, Exercise, Exercise, in the New York Times to be most troubling:
I’m afraid that in our efforts to get everyone to become physically active, we’ve sold you a bill of goods. A 30-minute walk on most days is just not enough. There is much more to becoming — and staying — physically fit as you age than engaging in regular aerobic activity.
Great. Another bill of goods that comes up as just a piece of worthless paper.
Unless you do something to slow the deterioration in muscle, bone strength and agility that naturally accompanies aging, you will become a prime candidate for what Dr. Nicholas A. DiNubile, an orthopedic surgeon at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, calls “boomeritis.”

“By their 40th birthday, people often have vulnerabilities — weak links — and as the first generation that is trying to stay active in droves, baby boomers are pushing their frames to the breakpoint,” Dr. DiNubile said in introducing a November press event in New York sponsored by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons and the National Athletic Trainers’ Association.

“Baby boomers are falling apart — developing tendinitis, bursitis, arthritis and ‘fix-me-itis,’ the idea that modern medicine can fix anything,” he said. “It’s much better to prevent things than to have to try to fix them.”
Am I in trouble now? Here's a little quiz from the article:

¶Are you not standing as straight and tall as you once did?

¶Is walking up a flight of stairs a strain at times?

¶Are you getting up from a chair more slowly than you used to?

¶Is it getting harder to look to the left and right while backing up?

¶Do you get stiff sitting through a long movie?

¶Is standing on one leg to put on your shoe difficult or impossible?

¶Do you trip or lose your balance more easily?

¶Does walking or jogging a distance take longer than it used to?

Okay, for me, I'm not a total wash out... although I'm not like I was 25 years ago.

What to do?
Marjorie J. Albohm, a certified athletic trainer affiliated with OrthoIndy and the Indiana Orthopedic Hospital in Indianapolis, cautioned against “cookbook recipes” for exercise. “The key to a good workout is customization,” based on a professional assessment of flexibility, cardiovascular endurance, strength and balance, she said. “The goal is to minimize symptoms and prevent new injuries,” Ms. Albohm said, and she urged people to listen to their bodies to avoid making things worse.

Ms. Albohm emphasized flexibility, saying it is “not optional” as you age. “To prevent stiffness and maintain joint mobility you should stretch daily for 15 to 20 minutes,” she said “using slow, controlled movements, before or after your exercise program.”

For cardiovascular endurance, she recommended alternating between weight-bearing (walking, jogging) and non-weight-bearing (swimming, cycling) aerobic activities three days a week for 30 to 45 minutes each time.
Perhaps you'll join me in buying, reading, and using Marilyn Moffat & Carole B. Lewis' recent book, Age Defying Fitness: Making the Most of Your Body for the Rest of Your Life. I'm tired of being sold a bill of goods; perhaps if I was in better shape, I wouldn't be so tired...

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