Stay Injury Free After 40

By , SparkPeople Blogger
by Holly St. Lifer from That's Fit

Anti-aging articles abound touting the benefits of lifting weights to boost metabolism and fat loss, and increase bone density. But strength training is also your first defense against injuries.

Weakness is the number one factor for putting you at injury risk. "The older we get, the less elastin -- a protein that keeps our tendons and ligaments flexible -- we make . As a result, these connective tissues become more stiff, placing added responsibility on our muscles to bear the burden of movement and impact when we run, swing a golf club or take a Zumba class. If your muscles aren't strong enough, you'll get injured," explained Henry Lodge, M.D., and coauthor of Younger Next Year.

Let's say you're a tennis player for example. If you don't have strong upper back and core muscles, then tendons and ligaments in your shoulder and elbow take on too much and you're at greater risk for a rotator cuff tear or tennis elbow.

Get the rest of the story at That's Fit!

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How do you avoid injury? Have you suffered more injuries as you've aged?

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Great article that spells out in brief and concise terms WHY strength training, stretching and cool down are even more important when we're older. Thanks for passing this along. Report
I'm 49, 50 at the end of May...I know my limitations, I still feel like I'm in my 20's, mentally, anyway, people guess my age to be mid-30's. But I notice that when I have an ache or pain it lasts a little longer, the last few weeks its been a pinching feeling right in the center of my back, to the point of pain...aging body is crazy! My husband is 3 years younger, but acts like he's 20 years older than me, it worries me, because he's letting himself go, he's gained weight, he sleeps a lot, and doesn't seem to have the energy to walk to the next room, and now he's been laid off, again, which adds depression to the mix. Of course, he wont listen to anyone, he wont go for a walk with me, he's spiraling down and I dont know what to do... Sorry to have vented here, but if not here, where! Report
I find it takes much much longer than when I was say 18 or 20 to RECOVER from say a strain or a sprain having said that I think I try to take better care of what my Saviour gave me for a mortal coil.... Report
Once in awhile, a pulled muscle, but no more now that I'm older, than when I was younger. Report
This old lady is almost 52 (end of April) and I'm in PT recovering from a dislocated elbow, fractured radial head, and torn tendons & ligaments that occurred on 2/27. I had surgery to put everything back together replacing the radial head and repairing the tendons & ligaments on 3/2. I was just out walking (5K My Way) the streets around my apartment complex, slipped in some mud (third time's the charm), and my elbow hit the curb! (my leg bounced off the curb too, but I didn't realize that until a week later). Within the last 6 years I think I've seen most of the Ortho groups here in Memphis for injuries to my right foot, right ACL, and right rotator. At least it was the left elbow! (I'm right handed) Report
I'm 61, and I've had several minor injuries - I don't push because I, too, don't believe in "no pain, no gain". But, I'm a little clutzy, even tho my balance HAS improved with getting in much better shape. My knees have improved to where I rarely hurt (as opposed to needing knee braces to workout with). Blisters, toe rubs, etc are common. I also managed to walk off the curb the other night while walking my dogs and trying to avoid an overgrown hedge. Better balance and quicker reflexes kept the injuries down to a mild jolt! Report
I'm 61 and not going to have an injury as I have common sense enough not to push myself to that point. The saying "No pain, no gain" is stupid as I see it. Report
Not sure if it is becasue I became more active after 40 or becasue of the age factor but I have had some "different injuries" like tendonitis in shoulder and heel. I am less injury prone i.e falls, etc becasue my balance is MUCH better Report
I think I've suffered the same amount of injuries after 40 as I did when I was younger. I've always been kinda accident prone. eh-hem. One thing I have noticed is that aches and pains have certainly increased with age ! Why does arthritis happen to good (active) people ???? Report
The link to Joanna Zieglar's story and blog are much appreciated! I have admired her for YEARS, and she is encouraging ALL women to be active, no matter what age you are. Report
I absolutely love the book, "Younger Next Year". My DH and I read it together. I recommend it highly.

I will be 69 in May and dance at NBA games on a Senior Dance team for the Milwaukee Bucks. We have to be strong to do what we do without injury. I've been on the team for 5 years and have consistently exercised and participated in dance classes and Pilates for at least 3 additional years beyond that. I still take weekly tap, ballet and Pilates classes. It's not a hardship for me to exercise, because I have found exercise I love to do. Maybe your thing is something other than dancing. Whatever it is, search until you find "what YOU love doing" is my best advice to anyone who is reluctant to exercise. Then, build up your strength gradually, as this blog explains. Patience is tough. We like to start at the top! (grin)

In my younger days, when I didn't exercise and lied to my doctor, telling him that I did, I had far more aches and pains than I do now. I feel strong and young for my age, due to the exercise, especially the Pilates and other strength training.

This blog is right on target.
Good article!!! BIG TRUE, I CAN FEEL IT AT 68 YEARS Report
Good article. Use it. move it. Or lose it!! Report
I fell after a hurricane and tore out my knee - and the only thing that keeps it from getting worse is my staying active. I haven't had any major injuries since then. (And it was only wet leaves and mud on the stairs - totally not my fault!) Report
Good topic, but wimpy article, too shallow. Report
Good article. I'm working my way through a rotator cuff tear (probably golf inspired) incurred over 18 months ago. I've debated surgury since the beginning but core strength training has shown steady improvement with less pain and restored strength. I've even golfed my way through this injury to point where almost no pain now although there is some stiffness when I begin my daily workout. I'm now 70 yoa and recently ran an 8K in under 45 minutes. I hope to do closer to 40 minutes next time. I've done 10K in 53 minutes and am steadily improving my stamina through current regimen. My suggestion: If one is smart and gradually improves over time, age should not be an impediment. Also, I believe I no longer will require surgery for the rotator cuff. It seems to be healing itself. At one point I couldn't raise my left arm, let alone raise a 10 lb dumbbell. I'm now doing over 50 reps per day: curls, raises, etc. no longer experiencing any pain. Sure beats the long rehab required for this type of operation. Report
Knock on wood - my injuries have been minimal since I've lost weight and am living a more active lifestyle. I think because I'm a swimmer, it's a lot easier to not be injured. When I'm running, I'm sure to take time off between runs...a day or two...just to be sure my legs are rested. I'm looking forward to biking season so that I have something else to do between runs. I'm also making sure that I stretch after all my workouts. I think that helps alot, too! Report
I love the bit about Skechers and we love the cardio, but the strength gets put aside way too often. I had an extreme sport injury just while standing on a ski slope, but have moved on and strength training was a big part of the moving forward process. Thanks for re-emphasizing strength!!! Report
I have had an injury in my late 40's but by training right I have not had any more injuries now in my 50's. Report
LOL. I have more injuries NOW in my mid-40s, as a result of a more active lifestyle...

Most recent was a fall while snowboarding on Sunday that will keep me from white water kayaking this weekend. :-(

And yeah, I do have a pretty rigorous strength and cardio program - but even that can only minimize the occasional damage from extreme sports... Report
At 40 I went from decades of couch potato to kick ass Grrrrrl -literally, starting teakwood ... It was rough for the first couple of years with almost continuous injuries. A couple of years later I'm still going and I would say it's been worth it - fewer injuries than the spring chickens, not to mention a black belt and national titles! I've also started running 5 kms regularly. Report