Baby Boomer Women Health and Wellness

“Boomeritis” is actually a medical term for sports injuries suffered by baby boomer women trying to stay active. (Boomer men are included, too!) If we do not care for our aging bodies, we will hurt. Dr. DiNubile, an orthopedic surgeon, coined the term, boomeritis, because it contrasts with our parent’s generation of activity while aging. When our parents’ bodies hurt, the activity was stopped. Today, baby boomers are very aware of how important activity is to living a longer and healthier life. However, we still need to be smart about how we approach physical activity. Orthopedic and physical therapy offices are filled with Weekend Warriors.

As our bodies age, the most common injuries are to the shoulder, knees, and ankles that involve sprains (tearing or stretching a ligament) or straining (tearing or stretching of a muscle or tendon. Tendons and ligaments lose some elasticity as we age so does our range of motion in the joints. We lose muscle mass as well so our tissues become weaker. Our posture, strength, balance, flexibility and endurance suffers.

Part of our wellness regime (action to prevent ill health) as women is to be prudent and follow these tips:

FROM THE AAOS (American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons) and THE AOSSM (American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine)

* Before beginning any exercise plan, get a medical screening first. Consult your doctor if you are regularly exercising but plan on making changes.

* Warm up before any physical activity. Warm up cold muscles to make you less prone to injury. Jog (lightly) or walk. Stretch out the muscles you will be using and hold for 30 seconds with no bouncing.

* Cross training is helpful to avoid stressing the same muscles repeatedly. Do not rely on your major sport to keep you fit. Be sure to include cardio activity, strength training, and stretching for a balanced exercise program.

* If you are new to a sport, take lessons.

* Be sure to have the right equipment to your sport or exercise plan–the right athletic shoes or a properly fitted helmet. for instance.

* Try not to add new exercises too soon, too fast. That is surely an injury waiting to happen.

* If you are ready to increase your level of activity, increase your activity in 10% increments. If you are using weights, the 10% rule applies as well.

Exercise. Exercise. Exercise. Find the plan that is right for you. There are no cookie cutter recipes for fitness. Your exercise plan should be customized. Exercises for posture, strength, balance, flexibility and endurance are good for any age, but activity maintains and increases your ability in all five of these fitness areas.