Our joints, ligaments, tendons, and bones were designed to go about 120 years! It’s always interesting when people get to be my age. Mid 40’s is when things can start to not work the same. When I was in my 20’s, I could tweak my hamstring one day and the next day, without doing anything to take care of it, I could still train, no problem. Now, it seems like a tweaked hamstring leads to a cascade of other problems that put me out for 3 weeks. And that’s only if I am willing to do the work to get it better!
So, what’s going on here? Why do we get injured more often and take longer to get back to healthy as we age?
First, we have to look at what’s causing injuries. Sometimes, in a rare case we get a catastrophic injury. My ankle hurts because my spouse ran my ankle over with the car - by accident, of course. This is sometimes the case with athletes. They get hit with a bad tackle or some sort of impact from an opponent that causes injury.
Sometimes, in very rare cases, we have pathological injuries. My hamstring hurts because I have hamstring cancer. Let me remind you that this is very rare!
The only other remaining reason for injury, for those of us who don’t have a catastrophic injury or a pathological injury, is because our injury is movement related. A full 99% of injuries at our age are movement related.
Why didn’t this happen when I was in my 20’s or 30’s? I never got injured until I started doing “fill in the blank” burpees, squats, sprints, … Well, it’s not the burpee, squat, or sprint causing the injury. It’s the way you are moving. It never bothered you before when you did this because the body can only buffer poor movement until it can’t buffer poor movement anymore.
Like I said, we are designed for 120 years, but when we run with a heel strike or squat with our knees in we tear away at the joints, ligaments, tendones, and bones. We are robust, but only to the point that our 120 year old design can’t handle the poor movement over time.
Now that we are talking the same language, here is the take away:
If you are injured, it’s worth looking at how you are moving.
How do you fix poor movement? Get a good coach who can help you identify your poor movement patterns and show you how to begin to fix them. I can help with this!! There is no need to stop training. The key is to bring awareness to how you are moving and what might be causing injury. Then, slow down, practice good movement, strategize potential fixes with strength and mobility, and constantly reassess.