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Senior Citizen's Guide to Indianapolis

Baby Boomers and Injuries

Why are the number of doctor visits growing among baby boomers? One answer – sports injuries.

The baby boomers are desiring to stay active longer. Is it due to denial of aging, or a need to maintain good physical health? For many, it’s both. I met a young lady who will be fifty years old on October 15, 2011. I asked what was important as she continues to age. Her response was pretty surprising. She stated she refused to believe that she will be a half century old in the month of October. I asked why. She answered, she didn’t feel like she was aging. She continued to say, “I weight train five times a week. I take Zumba class once a week, and run 2 to 3 miles daily. I asked if she was taking any type of medication, she, adamantly, answered “no”. She informed me she only takes vitamins, eats organic vegetables and fruits, eliminated sugar, salt, and caffeine from her diet, and gets plenty of rest. My last question pertained to injuries – she stated she had a knee injury three years ago, but it healed without surgical intervention due to her knowledge in the area of strengthening and flexibility training.

Unfortunately, the average baby boomer isn’t in the physical shape or have the physical fitness knowledge as this particular woman. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgery, baby boomers with active lifestyles are becoming more susceptible to sports injuries as they age. The study predicts that the total number of knee replacements in the U.S. will leap by 673%, reaching 3.5 million by 2030. Pretty alarming isn’t it?

The “boomers” are the first generation that grew up exercising. Therefore, the expectation is to continue into their 60’s and 70’s. However, many of them know they can not, necessarily, do at 50 what they did at 25. Many of their body parts will not react, they wear out and they break down. Knee and hip replacements, surgery for cartilage and ligament damage, and treatment for tendonitis, bursitis and stress fractures are just a few ailments that cause them to rush into the doctor’s office or the emergency rooms.

When the Consumer Product Safety Commission examined emergency-room visits in 1998, it discovered that sports-related injuries to baby boomers had risen by 33 percent since 1991 and amounted to 18.7 billion in medical costs.

It appears to be harmless, on the surface, to retain youthful vigor and appearance. However, unless the boomers are re-educated on fitness and obtain the assistance of fitness coaches or personal trainers, they are setting themselves up for a less pleasant future. (Statistics obtained from www.nytimes.com/2006/04/16.)

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