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Exercising When 40 Plus May Make You More Susceptible to Injuries

By HERWriter
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40 plus workouts mean more susceptibility to injury Auremar/PhotoSpin

Should I work out or just check out when I am injured? As we age our bodies could be more susceptible to injuries. Prevention Magazine looked at some of the most prevelant types of injuries for those of us over 40. They sought the advice of Kimberly Safman, MD, board certified physiatrist at Hoag Orthopedic Institute in Irvine, California for some alternative moves for certain conditions.

One of the most common pains I hear about as an instructor is wrist pain caused by carpal tunnel syndrome. Hoag suggested, "You should avoid ... push-ups, plank pose, and any other exercise that involves excessive bending the wrist forward or back; racquet sports can also cause flare-ups."

She recommended, "Instead, you should try ... chest exercises where you can keep wrists straight and protected — using machines or dumbbells."

I am no stranger to back pain, and neither are many of my friends and fellow instructors. I have sought out the fitness route of Pilates as I age. Like many women in their 40s, I've had to cut back on my running and looked for cardio exercises that cause less impact, such as an elliptical trainer or recumbent bike.

If your back still hurts, Dr. Safman said, it could be your shoes. "Also, be sure to wear the appropriate shoes for your sport."

Shin splints could also be a problem for those who run repetitively. Mix it up like a triathlete. Prevention.com experts suggested turning to a biking and swimming cardio regimen as an alternative.

Arthritis, bursitis and impingement could be the cause of shoulder pain, said C. David Geier, Jr., MD, Director of Sports Medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) in Charleston.

According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, “The rotator cuff is a common source of pain in the shoulder. Pain can be the result of:

- Tendinitis. The rotator cuff tendons can be irritated or damaged.

- Bursitis. The bursa can become inflamed and swell with more fluid causing pain.

- Impingement. When you raise your arm to shoulder height, the space between the acromion and rotator cuff narrows. The acromion can rub against (or "impinge" on) the tendon and the bursa, causing irritation and pain.”

Geier suggested, when working your shoulders only bring your arms to shoulder height, doing lateral or side raises.

If your neck hurts, Pilates can be key. As an instructor, one of the first things I work on with people is to get them out of their shoulders and neck. Too often, we hold too much tension there from sitting at our desks, driving, etc.

The trick is to swap out that tension for a strong core that can be your foundation. This strengthens your spine and can keep you young as you head out of your 40s and beyond.

In the words of Joseph Pilates, "If your spine is inflexibly stiff at 30, you are old. If it is completely flexible at 60, you are young."


“How to Exercise When I’m Hurting – Prevention.com.” Prevention Magazine. Web 31 May 2013.

“How to Exercise When I’m Hurting – Prevention.com.” Prevention Magazine. Web 31 May 2013.

“How to Exercise When I’m Hurting – Prevention.com.” Prevention Magazine. Web 31 May 2013.

“Shoulder Impingement/Rotator Cuff Tendinitis – AAOS.ORG.” American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Web 31 May 2013.

“Quotes from Joseph H. Pilates - The creator and inventor of the Pilates Method – Centerworks.com – Aliesa George.” Center Works.Web 31 May 2013.

Joanne Sgro-Killworth is a Television Fitness Expert, Certified Personal Trainer and Sport Nutritionist. She is Certified in Pilates, Pre-natal/Post-Partum, Yoga and Senior Fitness. She specializes in Weight Loss, Post-Rehab and Post Cancer Training.

Joanne's fitness plans and recipes are available globally on her website www.fitnessanswer.com/ She resides in the Phoenix, AZ area with her husband and son, where she runs her personal training business, Fitness Answer, LLC.

Reviewed June 3, 2013
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

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EmpowHER Guest

I'm a little biased but Elliptical Machines are great for easing back into a routine after a break or injury.
-Jake from EllipticalAuthority.com

August 8, 2013 - 2:30pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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