As we age it is common to feel that it is increasingly difficult to prevent injury or reach our fitness goals. We have spoken to many people in Bethesda that feel the help of a physical therapist is inevitable. Many challenges that are experienced are often attributed to a slowing metabolism.
However, this may not be the case.
There has been evidence that suggests that our metabolism doesn’t slow much, if at all, during adulthood. However, even if we later discover that some of these findings are misleading, a slowing metabolism is not the only reason that it takes longer to recover from injuries or fail to reach our fitness goals as we age.
Many of the challenges associated with aging stem from lifestyle changes.
In modern times humans have become more sedentary as we age. We no longer participate in organized sports, play outdoor games with our friends, and migrate to sedentary desk jobs for much of the day. This results in a large decrease in our daily energy expenditure and increases our risk of injury. Prolonged sedentary activity causes our body to become de-conditioned and less prepared for the rigors of life. As an example, this is why we suggest partaking in a running analysis prior to training for a race.
Another factor we may not realize is that as we get older, we take on a lot more responsibility.
Think back to your teenage years or time in your 20s. Did you have a lot of worries back then? A career? Family commitments? A mortgage? As these “adult things” add up, so do our commitments, resulting in less free time. Less time for exercise, less time for self-care, and less time for sleep.
Countless studies have shown us that as sleep decreases our health is negatively impacted in several ways, including an increased risk of orthopedic injury.
While it may be easy to see all of this as a negative, the good news is that many of the seemingly negative effects of aging are not as inevitable as we may have thought! Furthermore, feeling better and healthier doesn’t require you to be perfect.
As performance physical therapists, we help our patients identify the smallest possible improvement that will make the largest possible impact to overcome an injury.