Definition: a term used to describe the veritable explosion of tendonitis, bursitis, arthritis, sprains, strains, and stress fractures from sports-related injuries among the baby boom generation, coined by US orthopaedic surgeon, Dr. Nicholas DiNubile.

Talking ‘Bout My Generation

Born between 1946 and 1964, this generation has been shaping the marketplace since they were infants. The oldest boomers are 60; they intend to pass this milestone on their own terms regarding health and fitness. The Canadian Institute for Health Information reports that hip replacements rose 12 percent and knee replacements increased by 20 percent in 2006 over 2005 figures. The largest rate of increase was in patients between 45 and 54.

Act Your Age

This is something boomers don’t want to do. Baby boomers have a mind-body disconnect when it comes to sports and recreation. Many of them think of themselves as 18 even though their body tells a different story. Despite the undeniable evidence that staying physically active can help stave off disease and slow the aging process, the “no pain, no gain” generation needs to be more realistic about the intensity, frequency, and duration of activities in order to prevent injury, says Dr. Michael Clarfield, owner of the Sports Medicine Specialists in Toronto.

Dr. Clarfield suggests boomers need to keep biological changes in mind when designing workout and activity programs. They need to understand that with age comes a loss of elasticity and flexibility, stiffer and more brittle tendons and ligaments, degenerating cartilage, restricted joint motion, and slower reaction and recovery time, not to mention the reappearance of old injuries. However, the old adage “use it or lose it” is also true. Dr Clarfield insists baby boomers need to stay active, but with modifications.

Forever Young

For the generation that started the aerobics craze in the late 1970s, sitting in a rocking chair as their golden years approach is not an option. By listening to their bodies and adopting new routines, this legendary generation can not only ride into the sunset, they can also run, swim, ski, or bike.

Extended Warranty

The following tips from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons will keep baby boomers active and help prevent injury:

Stay balanced–make sure your fitness regime includes a balance of cardiovascular activity, strength training, balance, and flexibility exercises.

Stretch only when the muscles are warmed up–warm up for five to 10 minutes to get a little sweat going and then stretch.

Go for the gear–use a helmet for cycling, wrist guards for inline skating, and sport-appropriate shoes that fit properly. Replacing worn shoes in a timely fashion is important for injury prevention.

Take lessons–reacquaint yourself with the fundamentals of technique and rules. You may have forgotten more about a sport than you think.

Mix it up–do several types of activities during the week. You will rest muscles and tendons that might otherwise be subject to overuse.

The 10 percent rule–increase your activity by 10 percent at a time. If you normally walk or run two kilometres, don’t increase it to five. Build up endurance gradually, especially when weight training.

Pay attention to your body–a sharp pain or uncomfortable feeling is probably an injury of some sort. Have it looked at sooner rather than later; the longer it is left, the harder it will be to recover from.

The P.R.I.C.E. is Right

Despite best intentions, injuries do occur. Chances are, a lot of boomers know about R.I.C.E. R is for rest; stop the activity and rest the injured area. This is important to protect the area from further injury. I is for ice; apply ice, cold packs, or even frozen peas to the affected area. Cold can provide short-term pain relief and will limit swelling by reducing blood flow to the area. C is for compression; wrap the area in a tensor bandage. Compression will reduce swelling and provide pain relief. E is for elevate; raise the injured area above the heart to reduce swelling. But what about P?

For Dr. Clarfield, the P stands for protection. While R.I.C.E. is the course of action for acute injuries, a chronic situation requires protection, meaning a bracing of the area and/or a
modification of activity.

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