The 40+ Fitness Guide

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How to Play It Safe

Choose a Sport That Works with Your Body

If you already have a touch of arthritis in your knees, running or other high impact sports could worsen it. On the other hand, swimming or biking can strengthen the shock-absorbing muscles around the knees, helping protect them from further damage. At risk for osteoporosis? Swimming won't help maintain bone strength, but jogging, tennis and other impact sports will.

Start Gradually and Build Slowly

"When walking or running, for instance, increase the duration or intensity of the exercise by no more than 10 percent per week," says Mary Lloyd Ireland, MD, president of the Kentucky Sports Medicine Clinic, in Lexington, and a spokeswoman for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. "In golf, you should practice and get proper swing mechanics before playing a round. Try to overdo it and you increase injury risk."

Warm Up -- but Don't Stretch Before You Play

"Stretching before exercise is a common mistake that often leads to injury, because the muscles aren't warmed up yet," says Jonathan Ross, director of personal training at Sport Fit, in Bowie, Maryland, and the American Council on Exercise's 2006 Personal Trainer of the Year. "Instead, warm up before playing by doing an easier version of the moves you do during the sport -- walk a quarter mile before jogging or cycling; hit a few practice balls before playing tennis or golf. Stretch at the end of your workout, when your body may be most flexible."

Sports Safety Are you ready to return to the sports you enjoyed in your younger days? Protect your body before you step up your workout. For stretches and strategies that prevent "boomeritis," go to

Continued on page 4:  Tips to Protect Yourself


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