The excuse of being in pain due to age or pulling a muscle because you are old, is not a valid excuse. Our bodies are constantly adapting to the environment in which we place them in, and oftentimes injury can occur due to a sudden change in this environment or a new stimulus.
You’ve probably seen it before, the 50-year-old guy at drop-in basketball who was an all-star in high school pulls his calf on his second shift, sidelining him for the duration of the game. This didn’t just happen because of his age. This happened because he likely hasn’t placed himself in a fast-paced, competitive environment. When he decided to, his body wasn’t prepared and his weakest link was exposed, leading him to feel that just because he is 50, he is fragile.
Rewind to when you were eight years old. You could bounce from activity to activity, playing street hockey to basketball, cycling to swimming. Did you ever pull a muscle? Strain a calf? No, even without a proper warm up your body was always ready for constant stimulus, because it had to be. You were consistently asking your body to be ready, so it was. As we age, we don’t become more fragile, our lifestyles and environment change dramatically. We go from hours and hours of activity per day, playing sports, walking, and running, to sitting down at work all day and then planting ourselves in front of the TV each night. In the end we blame our body’s response (injuries) on our age.
So how do we address this? I am not saying we need to be playing hours of sports and training every single day, that isn’t feasible and many of us simply don’t have the time for that anymore. The most intelligent approach to keeping our body in its most optimal state is to provide it with the stimulus it so desires. For most people, that can look like this: three full-body lifting sessions per week, daily walks, playing a sport one to two days per week, and ensuring you keep on top of your mobility with yoga, stretching, or soft tissue work. A steady and consistent combination of these exercises will enable your body to remain well-adjusted and better prepared for instances in the future when physical strength is required.