Training at 50: advice from the orthopedist

The advice of the specialist for a functional and safe training after 50 years, respecting the physical changes of our body

There is a sport for every age more adequate than the others. If you are young you can do all sports, while the older you get the more high impact sports, which involve greater kinetic energy than other activities, are definitely inadvisable and should be avoided. This is in favor of low impact activities such as walking, tennis or golf.

At the level of the musculoskeletal system, our body undergoes changes which can more or less modify our daily and sports habits. How to behave when the body is no longer “collaborative” as before? Dr. Corrado Bait, head of the joint surgery and sports traumatology unit and the orthopedic unit of the Villa Aprica Clinical Institute, talks about it.

Physical changes: sarcopenia

As we know, with age, the body undergoes changes both at the bone level and at the muscle level. From this last aspect, the sarcopenia this is definitely an example of a related disorder.

“Recognized as a pathology since 2016, it is a multifactorial physiological condition that determines a deficit in muscle strength, mass and function especially in people over 50 – explains Dr. Bait -. If not treated properly, sarcopenia could lead to a significant deterioration in quality of life and health, making the person more likely to suffer from physical frailty, fractures, falls and disabilities.

In an average athletic subject, this would result in a longer recovery time between workouts, this is because it would overload faster. The body is no longer able to regenerate as it once was, precisely because sarcopenia involves this physiological reduction in muscle tone. The sportsman realizes this because his performance, which accumulates over the years, tends to decrease in terms of performance and efficiency on the field”.

The role of food

“Nutrition, from this point of view, plays an important role, because diets rich in proteins and amino acids help to have a more adequate muscle tropism, thanks also to the use of mineral supplements and salts which help the muscle to assimilate more quickly the substances it needs for its metabolism.

It is clear that if a person follows a diet high in fat, it goes without saying that he will only accumulate fat tissue and not muscle mass. Certainly, when it comes to sarcopenia, good nutrition is the basis for more effective prevention.”

Exercise after 50

“When we talk about advanced age, we are referring to an age range that goes beyond 50 years, when we begin to feel the effects ofphysiological aging of our musculoskeletal systemwith a change that also involves our metabolism.

It is clear that there are people in their fifties who have always played sports and who have always been biologically very active, so their musculoskeletal system is used to functioning in a certain way, with a certainly more trained metabolism.

On the other hand, a 50-year-old person who has led a sedentary life and suddenly wants to get back into shape, will certainly take much longer to achieve the same results – continues the orthopedist.

Very often, sporting activity, in this age group, beyond feeling fit, also represents a great psychological help because it is useful, for example, to release the tensions of work or to carve out part of the day”.

physical aging in women

“Physical aging affects men and women differently. In the female subject, the menopause because, from a metabolic point of view, it is as if a major earthquake were happening, both physically and emotionally.

Also in this case, if the woman has always been used to doing sports, she will feel the sensation of reduced strength and recovery times, although the body will react better because it is already trained and used to it. A woman who is going through menopause and has hardly ever practiced sports and at an advanced age felt the need to throw herself headlong into sports, perhaps it would be appropriate to evaluate the pros and cons: for example, at menopause, with osteoporosis, the risk of fracture, or in any case of injury, is just around the corner”.

Recommended sports in middle age

If you have never practiced a sport and want to start at a later age (it’s never too late!), it is advisable to practice low impact sports like, how:

  • I swim;
  • Nordic’s walk (independently and with the help of sticks);
  • pilates;
  • Golf;
  • water gymnastics (low impact on our musculoskeletal system).

All the more reason, if any arthritic degenerative images especially at the level of the joints of the lower limbs (eg hip, knee, ankle), it is absolutely inadvisable to do weight-bearing activities, so even Nordic walking could be counterproductive. Therefore, all these are recommended activities not in charge like, for example, the bicycle or the bowl.

If we lighten or remove weight from a degenerated joint, it will surely benefit for two reasons:

  • you will have the movement that facilitates theremoval of arthritic joint waste;
  • your muscles will train.

“The more we advance with the years, the less the mechanical impact must be on our joints and if it were possible to favor outdoor activities, in a way compatible with the season – concludes Bait -. Loutdoor activities it is certainly more stimulating and can be done alone or in company”.

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