“Tips for musculoskeletal longevity”
When treating patients I often hear, “it must be old age” or “I am getting old and this is what happens”. It is true that as we age we produce less growth hormone and we heal slower. We also have musculoskeletal problems that have been there for longer periods of time, so they have settled in and became more chronic. If this is all true then how come aging affects some more than others?
Whenever I have the opportunity to work on a patient who is 60+ years of age and has soft, pliable, young feeling muscles I ask them what they did to preserve themselves so well. This list below comes from top CrossFit masters athletes 65 years and older that I had the chance to treat while working at the CrossFit Games. These are people in their later stages of life that are defying the odds and doing incredible tasks. This is not a complete list, I am sure that it can be added to but here is what I have compiled.
Answers from top CrossFit Masters (65+) competitors on how they preserved their musculoskeletal system so well:
Yoga/Pilates – One common theme that I noticed with a lot of the masters athletes is that all of the ones with soft, supple muscles did Yoga and Pilates. This is what I call diversifying your workout portfolio. If you are contracting your muscles hard & lifting heavy objects often you need to make sure that you are elongating the muscles almost as often. This can be done through yoga, isometric exercises and pilates. Yoga is also great to help your body down regulate and relax after a long week of grueling hard exercise.
Listen to your body – If you are hurt stop. Pushing through an injury does not make you tough it makes you more hurt and gives potential for serious damage. Instead, practice active rest (active rest video explanation – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3nhQFclUjDQ&list=PLe8Zc1VqWMx5gyFx2ws5fdfNwfP6leYZ9&index=23) which means staying active but avoid aggravating movements. If you are unsure of which movements are aggravating or will provoke the injured area contact our office or a qualified local sports practitioner that understands the mechanics of your sport and can give you good advice.
Massage once per week – One of my favorite patients is 91 and can jump on and off my table like a 15 year old. I asked him, “Jim what did you do so right to stay in such great shape?” His answer to me is that since 1973 he has had a massage once per week. I thought how nice that would feel to get a massage once per week massage. Usually people wait until they are hurt to get a massage. Jim would do it to prevent injury and keep his muscles soft and supple. If you are looking for a great massage therapist Jackie in our office is as caring and talented as they get!
Have a good recovery team on your side – Know where to go for recovery, questions and guidance for injuries. If you are planning on training for an event or race athlete recovery is a must. In our office we understand the mechanics of sports, we can break down your activities and give you specific advice on how to avoid injuries and optimize athletic performance. We can help you to unravel the tightness that develops from weight training and our advanced therapies will help to rid your body of toxins that develop when you push yourself to the max.
Don’t ever stop – Movement blocks pain. Unless faced with a severe catastrophic injury, movement will help you get better faster. This goes back to the idea of active rest. If you are hurt switch your activity so that you can keep up your gains and not take a step back.
Stay strong my friends,
Dr. Todd Rodman, DC, CCSP
Dr. Todd Rodman is a Sports Medicine Chiropractor with offices located in Boca Raton and Pompano Beach Florida. He is the Official Team Chiropractor for Florida Atlantic University Athletics and has worked on the medical staff for the CrossFit Games, the Iroman Triathlon and many other athletic competitions. He specializes in many different soft tissue & athlete recovery therapies as well as traditional Chiropractic and extremity manipulation. He believes that all people deserve the same level of therapy that professional athletes get and he is passionate on educating people on the importance of preserving their musculoskeletal system.