Sunday, December 10, 2023

Physician orders measured and controlled exercise for aging athletes

By Oratile Otsetswe

The desire to push past their exercise limits in order to boost their performance and achieve success is in athlete’s blood.

However athletes should not exercise beyond their capabilities particularly the aging athletes because, as a person grows older there are physiological changes in different organs that make them more susceptible to the side effects of exercise.

This was revealed by sports and exercise physician Dr Lesedinyana Odiseng in an interview with the Telegraph Sport. He advised that there is need for athletes to follow proper training methods to avoid repercussions of over training. Often when preparing for major competitions athletes tend to over train and end up straining their bodies which might end up missing competitions because of injuries and body fatigue.

Odiseng added that “all athletes should not push themselves beyond their limit; they should follow the principle of progressive loading. Start low and as your body adapts you can increase the amount you are doing. All athletes should have a Pre Exercise medical before commencing exercise. Sudden Cardiac death makes the news in young athletes but it’s much more common in the older athlete”

Injuries are every athlete‘s horror hence an injury needs to be prevented by using cautious methods during exercise. According to Odiseng aging/veteran athletes are prone to injuries generally of the musculoskeletal system (combination of muscular and skeletal system and includes the bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments of the body).

He said  the injuries include back pain, bursitis (inflammation of a fluid filled sac closed to joints),stress fracture, hamstring injury, problems with a kneecap, shin splits,tendonitis,heel pain, rotator cuff problems to name a few.

Odiseng added that straining exercises in the aging athlete can cause the bones to start thinning, particularly in women after the menopause and the brain also ages leading to reduction in coordination and reaction time.

“Your heart is no longer as powerful as it used to be and may have blockage of its blood vessels. This may lead to serious problems when your exercise.  There are also changes in your muscular skeletal system. Both muscle strength and muscle mass start deteriorating when you reach middle age” he noted.

It is up to sporting codes to educate athletes and engage professionals who will develop training schedule for their athletes in their pursuit of glory.


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