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Managing Arthritis As An Athlete

Guest Articles by Jane Sandwood

Article by Guest Writer Jane Sandwood

First Published June 6, 2019

How To Stay Fit As A Retired Athlete

Transitioning from a top-performing athlete into a more sedentary lifestyle once retired is difficult. And it increases in difficulty as you age. The Philippines is now moving towards an aging population, with 8.2% of the population being over the age of 60. And maintaining good health is one of the top concerns for the retired and elderly.

A former athlete’s body has been trained to function at a higher level. And because of these demands, it may be even more difficult to stay fit as a retiree because of issues like arthritis, muscle fatigue, and injury. Motivation can be difficult to maintain as you age, and prioritizing exercise daily. It is a vital key to staying fit as a retired athlete.

Managing Arthritis As An Athlete – Make Fitness A Priority

Regular and daily exercise is more prevalent in Southeast Asia than compared to both the U.K. and America. With as many as 74% of the population meeting the minimum recommended exercise levels. However, these numbers do decrease for older demographics who live a much more sedentary lifestyle. While competing and training for a sport. Many athletes are subject to a rigorous daily exercise regime. And, not much thought is needed to fit activity throughout the day.

However, once your playing days have ended. It becomes absolutely crucial to maintain a certain amount of activity and prioritize fitness. Stick to exercises that you enjoy. And make it a daily habit. Just as your training schedule would be. Fit in at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise five times a week. And total body strength training exercises at least twice a week for optimal benefits. Walking, Swimming and cycling are all great options for retirees as they are easier on the body and joints. However, still provide optimal benefits to overall health.

Set New Goals For Training

Athletes are used to working hard towards a performance goal. And this motivation and mentality can be maintained after retirement. Training for a purpose has been second nature. And so it’s best to continue with this pattern of behavior. Writing down and logging a goal will make you 1.4 more times likely to succeed and accomplish the goal. Which is very important when it comes to maintaining fitness as you age.

Common goals may be to walk 10 000 steps a day, or swim 20 laps in one go; as long as you are working towards a performance goal, then you will be more likely to engage in daily exercise. Tap into motivational stories and quotes that resonate best with you to keep your determination heightened just as you would in your athletic career.   

Keeping fit and exercising as you age has long been one of the best things to do for optimal health. As a former athlete, this is especially true as maintaining an exercise and fitness plan will enable a happier and more mobile retirement, and provide regularity for your body to keep moving well into your later years of life.

Sources:

https://www.express.co.uk/life-style/health/678393/Keeping-fit-40s-makes-you-less-likely-suffer-stroke-retirement

http://www.ncaa.org/static/champion/when-the-playing-days-end/


Managing Arthritis as An Athlete

June 3, 2019

arthritis athlete

An estimated 350 million people worldwide are living with arthritis. While the likelihood of developing the condition is lower for Asians, research has found that being an athlete does increase those chances, particularly for knee and hip arthritis.

As an athlete, you may need to change your training schedule, switch to low-impact exercises, and treat the disease with medication and physiotherapy. Consequently, these can impact your performance, but managing your arthritis well doesn’t have to mean the end of your career as an athlete.

What is arthritis?

Arthritis is the inflammation of one or more joints, resulting in pain, swelling, stiffness, and reduced movement in the joint, making it bad news for athletes. There are over 100 different types of arthritis, with the most common being osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). OA can be caused by normal wear and tear, which can mean that athletes are more likely to develop it as they use their joints more and push themselves harder. Although arthritis is associated with older people as it’s most common in over 65s, children, teens, and young adults can develop it too.

Implications of arthritis on athletes

Arthritis is usually worse in the morning, so athletes may need to alter the times they train to be able to reach their full potential. RA can cause tiredness and a loss of appetite due to how the body’s immune system responds to the inflammation, as well as anemia and joint deformity being associated with the disease.

Having a good diet is essential for athletes, so try to eat nutritious food when you can and look into making smoothies that are packed with vitamins and minerals and may be easier to consume. Medication may be necessary to control pain and inflammation, but it’s especially important for athletes to look at how these can affect their performance and overall health.


Treating arthritis with physical therapy and exercise

Physical therapy is one of the best ways to manage arthritis, particularly OA that athletes are more prone to. A tailored program that stretches and strengthens the muscles that support the arthritic joint. Can absorb some of the force that would usually go to the joint. Helping to relieve pain and keep the joint working.

Most athletes will be pleased to hear that continuing to exercise is recommended for OA, however, low-impact activities are best, such as cycling, swimming, and any other exercise in water. Current exercises you enjoy can be modified to make them less painful, such as walking instead of jogging and doing exercise in shorter bursts. Exercise also helps to manage weight, which helps to take the pressure off of joints, with every 1 lb of weight being the equivalent to 4 lbs of pressure on a knee.

The good news for athletes is that exercise is encouraged to maintain and healthy weight. And to try to maintain joint function. However, simply being a professional athlete is likely to increase your risk of getting arthritis in the first place due to the additional pressure put on joints.

Do retired professional athletes develop arthritis and other health issues from overuse of joints, muscles, etc?

Of course. All that damage adds up over a person’s career. He incurs injury stoically and routinely and heals sufficiently to get back in the game. However, that changes as injuries pile up and an athlete ages. Eventually, the bill comes due and an athlete has to retire to be in pain and eventual disability for the remainder of their lives.

Young people notoriously unconcerned. About their injuries because they don’t believe the “bad stuff” will ever happen to them. This is generally true of all youth regardless of the circumstances. They don’t imagine they will ever have to pay the piper. It is important for athletes to care for their bodies when they are young to avoid disability when they are older.

 

 

Sources:

https://www.health24.com/Medical/Arthritis/Arthritis-and-Exercise/Elite-athletes-at-risk-of-arthritis-20120721

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