You can be an olympian at any age

Staying active as you ageIt’s only a matter of days before the torch is lit to commence the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio, Brazil. This summer marks the 120th year of the summer games and the USA will be well represented with more than 550 olympians competing for the chance to take home the gold. The average age of American athletes is 27 years old, but some competitors are well into middle age. Although many athletes ‘age out’ of their sport due to overuse injuries, declining stamina or strength, or the desire to pursue a less demanding lifestyle, there are ways older athletes can stay in the game.

Here are five ways you can continue to enjoy your favorite sport or hobby as you age:

  1. Focus on incorporating balance, flexibility, strength and endurance into your fitness routine. Completing exercises each day that focus on any or all of these elements will help ensure that you can maintain independence as you age. Remember, if you don’t use it, you lose it!
  2. Consume a healthy diet that is ideal for maintaining good heart health and managing weight. How you fuel your body is important when you are trying to stay fit and age well. As you age, your diet and exercise needs change. Talk with your doctor about any changes you may need to make in order to stay healthy and active.
  3. Take care of new injuries or ailments as soon as possible. Getting injured when you are older can cause serious problems if you do not take care of injuries correctly and in a timely manner. Make sure you seek medical attention or visit your Physical Therapist if you have an injury or are experiencing pain, and be sure to schedule your annual check-up to avoid complications from any illnesses you may not be aware of.
  4. Don’t let knee or joint pain keep you from your fitness goals. It’s common for past injuries to cause more aches and pains as you age. Like new injuries, it’s important to not ignore these signs and to seek medical attention. If you have knee or joint replacement surgery, you may not be able to run or jump like you used to, but the Physical Therapists at All Care Home Health can help you get back to a level of function that will enable you to maintain an active lifestyle.
  5. Seek out opportunities for you to compete in your favorite sport or activity. At the national and state level seniors can compete in the National Senior Games. There are also many local opportunities for seniors to compete in running, walking and cycling events. Competing and earning a medal can be great motivators to get active and stay fit.

As you watch the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, remember that you don’t have to be a spring chicken to participate in a beloved sport or activity; all you have to do is maintain a healthy lifestyle, stay active and keep that fire to compete burning!

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