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Yeah, I see the problem-- you're gettin' old.
Old 10-19-2012, 01:08 AM   #1
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Yeah, I see the problem-- you're gettin' old.

Testosterone poisoning and taekwondo-- they don't mix well.

I get along great with all our instructors. One of them was on the national team for almost a decade and has been working out for his entire life. He grew up in a dojang and he's probably in his 30s. He's about 5'8" and maybe 110 pounds soaking wet, which is a great sparring combination. He's always cheerful and enthusiastic, always encouraging us to try harder to do better. At his age, he has scant appreciation for geezer students whose physical condition and recovery are not what they used to be. He's not offensive or intolerant about it-- just genuinely surprised to learn that he's the only guy in the dojang who can do 20 pullups in one set. It brings out my competitive side, and it's not always pretty.

So on Wednesday night we had a good hour, and I went hard as usual. At the end of the class we lined up for a few minutes of physical conditioning-- mostly pushups or situps. Last night, however, he wanted to do squats. I can do squats. He started with 50. No problem, I do that many with weights when I'm working out with my spouse. So I did 50 squats, no weights, each leg bearing half of my body weight.

Then he called for a second set of 50-- side squats. One leg extended to the side, squatting on the other leg. It's about 75% of your bodyweight on the squatting leg. That's more weight than I usually work with, but I gritted my teeth and got through it.

Finally(!) he called for five single-leg squats. I can remember doing those during quiet, boring midwatches when I was in my 30s, but that was 20 years ago. How hard could that be now, despite two torn ACLs? Turns out that I couldn't go all the way down, and I couldn't hold my other leg off the floor. I might've been able to do them if they'd been in the first set. But I struggled through what might someday look like five single-leg squats.

As we bowed out and walked off the floor, I realized that both of my hamstrings were cramping up. I stretched them out (again) and managed to get home, where I stretched out (yet again) and took 800mg of ibuprofen. But all night long I could feel my hamstrings on the verge of cramping, and just turning over in bed would wake me up.

This morning was more of the same, including ibuprofen with breakfast & lunch. My legs were on fire from the bottom of my spine to the backs of my knees. I stayed active with more stretching and light yardwork, so my muscles got better. It's been almost 24 hours now, and I've gone from "perpetually cramping" to merely "sore". I should be OK tomorrow-- just in time for spouse and me to work out. Hey, maybe I'll do some squats.

After eight years of taekwondo, recovery is getting to be a problem. Every year I do less of it, but this keeps sneaking up on me and hitting me over the head. Every Mon & Wed night I come home from taekwondo tired & sore (even without squats) but generally happy. I sleep like a log (6-7 hours) and I'm usually dragging the next day. But after nights like last night it takes a lot longer to recover. I'm already working out 3x/week with spouse, and surfing 2-3x/week. Taekwondo fills out the week but yardwork means that I'm occasionally doubling up-- 7-8 workouts/week.

However my daughter loves taekwondo & kickboxing, so I have to talk it over with her first. When she comes home from college on winter/summer breaks she enjoys the victory laps workouts, and we occasionally even go to Friday-night sparring. It's quality father-daughter time. Of course she also has a lot of surfing to catch up on so I'm usually exhausted by day 5 of her "vacations".

Taekwondo is good for my joints, my reflexes, my speed (what's left of it), my kinesthesia, and my proprioception. Surfing is pretty good for those too, but they're two different levels of effort and execution. I don't think I could do it all with just surfing. I'm reluctant to give up taekwondo until I'm at least in my 60s, but that's going to require me to learn to back off from the heroic exertions.

I've looked at other martial arts, but nothing seems as good as taekwondo. Anything involving joint locks or grappling or throws is out-- my knees have had enough of that. Muay thai, staff work, escrima, and MMA are probably more intense than taekwondo. I'd hate to think that the next step is straight down to tai chi.

I can't believe that my body has slowed its repairs so much. I have the cardio, the strength, and the endurance. I just can't seem to do more than one workout a day for 5-6x/week at the level I want to do it. I already take a full load of vitamins. I'm already pretty much paleo & protein, very little carbs or sugar (chocolate), lots of fish & fruit. My drinking days are behind me, and I don't even like soda. A frozen yogurt and a half a pizza a week is about the limit of my depravity.

I'm getting "Younger Next Year" back out of the library to see what they say about recovery. (Thai massage? I could live with that.) I'm going to talk to one of the other taekwondo instructors about how they've handled geezers, but this is a young dojang and I'm the oldest one by nearly a decade. Eventually I'll have to tactfully & respectfully inform our enthusiastic instructor that I'll be doing "geezer reps" of his exercises instead of trying to keep up with the younger whippersnappers.

Any other ideas? Am I missing anything else?
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Old 10-19-2012, 03:20 AM   #2
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Well, maybe look at it this way: If you overdo taekwondo, will you miss the next morning's scheduled dawn patrol? How important is that to you? How about the yardwork?

To me, it sounds like taekwondo is more important to you because it is something you enjoy with your daughter, rather than it simply being something you enjoy. I hear you on that...it is really important to keep that close connection. But if it means you have to give up the dawn patrol (also a shared connection with DD), what would you do?

At 50+ our bodies simply will not recover as fast as they did when we were in our 20s, even if we are relatively fit compared to the general population. I found that out myself, trying to run and ride my way to being able to do a triathlon, after never being very active in vigorous sports until 4 years ago. I've had to come to the conclusion that I can do each of the three sports. I can turn in a decent result with the runs, and ok but a little less decent with the bike and the swim. But if I try to do all three and go all out doing them, I will be suffering for a few days to 10 days. If I do each of them "easy" I will be fine, but where is the competition in that? And if I try to do any of them at high level every day for a few days in a row, I will be suffering for a week or more, in one way or another (soreness, exhaustion, etc). I've had to try to learn to take it down a notch, and do only a couple days of really intense per week, with easy days in between, and even an extra rest day thrown in here and there. Otherwise, I'll simply whack myself.

Given your enjoyment of the various activities, whether it is just because you love it, or because you love your daughter, or somewhere in between, it may very well be worth the effort to try to tame the most intense of your efforts just a little, or you may injure your body, or your pride, to the point of not wanting or being able to go back. Not going back does not sound like a very good option to me.

Hope this helps.

R
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Old 10-19-2012, 07:05 AM   #3
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Sounds like it is time to form your own dojo - Mature Taekwondo, or whatever. Keep up the sport but at a sensible pace. Following a 30 y/o into the emergency room is dumb.
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Old 10-19-2012, 07:21 AM   #4
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Am I missing anything else?
You mean other than your grip on reality?

Your thread title sums it up. You can run, but you cannot hide from what age does to the human body.
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Old 10-19-2012, 08:10 AM   #5
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If you're looking for another way to exercise, the rancher down the road has a little over 1,000 bales of hay he needs loaded on the trailer and offloaded in the barn.

That hurts is hard at any age.
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Old 10-19-2012, 08:15 AM   #6
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You ain't seen nothin yet, wait till you pass the big 60
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Old 10-19-2012, 09:28 AM   #7
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Not a lot of sympathy here! I've run since 30's (61 now) and plantar faciitis is killing that. Got a mountain bike, and now having knee problem as well. I've never been willing to run less than 5-6 miles (hey, it's not worth getting sweaty for less) but now am contemplating that I may just have to. I never experienced any health issues or body complaints until this last few months.

Reality bites. I guess the fact that I'm still above ground and take no meds should be good enough!
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Old 10-19-2012, 09:52 AM   #8
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If you are looking for another martial art, give a look at Uechi-Ryu... It is a traditional Okinawan karate. I love it.
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Old 10-19-2012, 09:56 AM   #9
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Um, is there some reason you cannot keep doing all the things you do, but just do a bit less of them?
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Old 10-19-2012, 10:10 AM   #10
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maybe become a guinea pig for these guys
Has The Fountain of Youth Been Discovered? : Discovery News
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Old 10-19-2012, 10:10 AM   #11
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Perhaps those who have preserved their cartilage with much less strenuous pursuits will have the last laugh (not to mention all the money they will have saved on ibuprofen over the years).

ETA: and this: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/healt...,3887376.story

Quote:
And emerging research is starting to show that ibuprofen can actually cause inflammation under certain conditions and may interfere with the body's processes of recovery and adaptation.

....Ibuprofen (Advil and Motrin) and another NSAID, naproxen (Aleve), are recommended for relieving pain and reducing fever. Best tolerated when taken on a full stomach — rare during a marathon — they work by stopping the body's production of substances that cause pain, fever and inflammation.

But one of those substance, prostaglandin, is also important for the synthesis of collagen, Warden said. "Collagen is the main structural material of all muscles, bones and tendons," he said. "That's what gives (them) strength. The drugs can reduce how much collagen you form in response to exercise."
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Old 10-19-2012, 10:11 AM   #12
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Old 10-19-2012, 10:13 AM   #13
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... It brings out my competitive side, and it's not always pretty.
....
Any other ideas? Am I missing anything else?
Suggestion: learn to replace competitiveness with wisdom.
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Old 10-19-2012, 10:21 AM   #14
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Not a lot of sympathy here! I've run since 30's (61 now) and plantar faciitis is killing that. Got a mountain bike, and now having knee problem as well. I've never been willing to run less than 5-6 miles (hey, it's not worth getting sweaty for less) but now am contemplating that I may just have to. I never experienced any health issues or body complaints until this last few months.

Reality bites. I guess the fact that I'm still above ground and take no meds should be good enough!
I too have been running for decades. At 64 I still do over 20 miles per week in the hills. Don't know much about plantar faciitis but there is plenty of good info out there. You might examine your running habits -- things like putting a rest day between running days, making sure shoes are correct and replaced on time, avoiding pavement, etc.

Is plantar faciitis basically overuse injury? When recovering I'd ramp up very slowly, possibly inserting temporary plateaus for several weeks. For example, run 2 miles with a day off. Do this for a few weeks and if symptoms appear ... stop again.

FWIW, I use Spenco inserts in my running shoes and those running shoes I converted to street shoes. These I buy at REI and have a stonger arch support. Over the years my arches have fallen (I think) and that is the reason I needed larger shoe sizes.
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Old 10-19-2012, 10:44 AM   #15
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You ain't seen nothin yet, wait till you pass the big 60
60 ain't big.......60 ain't nuttin'.........wait until you hit 70.....you'll yearn for the halcyon days of your 50s and 60s.
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Old 10-19-2012, 10:54 AM   #16
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Not a lot of sympathy here! I've run since 30's (61 now) and plantar faciitis is killing that.
Have you tried a Foot Rubz massage ball for the plantar fasciitis?

Amazon.com: Foot Rubz Foot Massage Ball Also Great for Backs and Hands: Sports & Outdoors

Although I don't suffer from this, I have had some problems with tendonitis around my arch, and picked up one of the balls for $6. It feels good and seems to help. When I googled it to see how to use it properly, I read a lot of reviews about how helpful it is for plantar fasciitis.
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Old 10-19-2012, 11:00 AM   #17
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I am 56 now and recovery has slowed.....alot for me. I spent about 5 hours cutting and stacking firewood 2 days ago. First cutting then stacking in the back of my pickup then taking from pickup and stacking near the house - repeat several times. 2 days later and every time I get up I emit a muted uuuuhhhh involuntarily. I used to do labor like that and have no stiffness even the next day. My DW says I need to do more yard work everyday and the stiffness will go away
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Old 10-19-2012, 11:14 AM   #18
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My advice is to cut back or quit a particular activity if it's causing pain or injuries.

I was a runner (ran several marathons) from my teens into my early 50's. At age 53 I started having back, hip and ankle aches and pains from running. I enjoyed running alot and it was a great way to stay in good shape. But the aches and pains were taking away the enjoyment. I'm 56 now and haven't run for 3+ years and I miss it a little. But, looking back, I wish I would have quit running earlier because of some of the lasting aches and pains...occasional back and hip aches. After I quit running I substituted running with biking and swimming. I now try to keep the effort at a point where I'm not going to injure myself by pushing too hard. I've discovered that at age 56 I tend to get injured much easier when I push myself too hard. When I lift weights, I no longer try to add more weight because inevitably that ends badly with a muscle strain which at age 53 takes much longer to heal compared to when I was in my 20's. I enjoy my workouts more knowing that I don't have to constantly push to the next level but just enjoy what I'm doing.

So the advice I'd give anyone working out as they get older...learn your limitations and adjust your effort.
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Old 10-19-2012, 11:28 AM   #19
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Is plantar faciitis basically overuse injury? (snip)
I don't think so. I got PF in both feet and I have never been a runner or athletic at all. I did have a job which involved lots of walking, mostly on hard pavement, for 17 years, but I doubt the wear and tear on my feet from that would be anywhere near as much as it is for someone who runs several miles a day.
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Old 10-19-2012, 11:29 AM   #20
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I can't believe that my body has slowed its repairs so much.
Yeah, welcome to the wonderful world of getting older. Look at it this way; at least you are FI. So, there are compensations for growing older.

But don't let your age define what you can accomplish. Just pick reasonable goals and work up to them a little more slowly and cautiously. In time, with regular practice you will make more progress than you might think.

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60 ain't big.......60 ain't nuttin'.........wait until you hit 70.....you'll yearn for the halcyon days of your 50s and 60s.
Oh don't TELL me this! 64 is bad enough.

I have to be SO careful about sports injuries, and I have to build up much more gradually to things than I did when I was younger. I am lifting about 8 times the weight I started out with, but I have been lifting regularly for several years now. There have been setbacks and most of them were related to injury. It's amazing how easily the 64-year-old body (or at least, my 64-year-old body) can be injured, and how long it takes to recover afterwards.

I think that as we grow older, we can still do many of the same things that we did years ago, but we have to ease into them gradually over months or even years, with regular exercise over a long, long time. And, of course, we have to be OCD about form. This way we are more likely to avoid sports injuries.
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