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WM 02-14-2007 03:41 PM

long-term exercising
 
Who here is a long-time exerciser?

I'm 32, and have been running pretty consistently since high school. However, I really overdid it on a long run/walk this past fall, and aggravated long-time minor aches and pains in my hip so much that I had to stop running for a while. It made me wonder whether it's really a good idea to do something like running (hard on the joints) for years and decades, or if that's just asking for trouble later on. My mom just had her second knee replaced, and she's only 57 and has never been overweight or done a lot of "pounding" on her joints.

Thankfully, I found a Dr to treat my hip, and a combination of "active release therapy" - great stuff! - and exercises that I do on my own has gotten my hip more pain-free than it's been in years. I asked him about the wisdom of continuing to run long-term given this hip problem and my mom's knees, and he said it's fine, plenty of people run well into their 60's and beyond. He also differentiated between problems with the muscles (what I had, fixable) versus problems with cartilage or bone (more serious).

Sure, I've seen 80-yr-olds at races, but were they running in their 20's? Are they just genetically lucky?

CyclingInvestor 02-14-2007 05:19 PM

Re: long-term exercising
 
I have been bicycling since childhood (paper routes from age 9-18) and
have kept it up. I have blown out my knees several times due to over-use
and have been training myself to ride slower for the past decade or so.
In my 30's I rode 8000-15000 miles/year. Lately it has been 4000-8000,
although now that I am retired I expect to increase this (I am 48 now).

The slowdown has greatly reduced the pain. The knee problems only
affected my cycling - even my worst injury did not affect my walking.
I also can now tell when my knees are just starting to go, and reduce
my speed accordingly.

It is easy to keep good strength as you get older, and aerobic output only
declines slowly, but joints seem to weaken more quickly. It is very easy for
me to strain almost any of my joints nowadays, as my muscles (especially
leg) can dish out far more energy than my knees can handle. This is the
toughest part of growing older (with respect to exercising) - having to be
more careful, and not just pounding out miles when you feel like it.

cube_rat 02-14-2007 05:42 PM

Re: long-term exercising
 
Me. I've been consistently doing "something" since the age of 20. I first spent 4 years in martial arts, then body building, then long distance running. Now I'm a gym rat who weight trains several times a week (light weights these days) and runs 6-7 miles on the treadmill several times a week. The fallout from all of this jockish stuff?

- several broken toes/hand and slipped disk in neck from martial arts
- injured rotator cuff from body building
- lastly, two messed up knees that snap, crackle and pop when I shuffle walk

I still work out hard several times a week, but I don't life heavy weights like I used to. No more trail/street running for me. I'm confined to the treadmill these days.

All this so I could look good. Geesh. >:(

grumpy 02-14-2007 06:37 PM

Re: long-term exercising
 
I have been doing regular lap swimming for the last 30 years even though I have major back problems that preclude almost all other vigorous activity. I generally do about a mile, 3 to 4 times a week. My aerobic condition is excellent but I wish I could do some strength training without aggrevating my back. I have had some shoulder and elbow issues over the years but that is probably because my back problems force my swimming stroke to put more stress there than normal stroke mechanics. My accupunturist has kept me going anyway.

Grumpy

Alan 02-14-2007 08:41 PM

Re: long-term exercising
 
From being a teenager played soccer, tennis, squash and badmington and I played them a lot. Staring in my early 30's i got bad backache culminating in lower back surgery at age 35. That put paid to soccer and sports with violent twisting like tennis, but it was a real eye opener as it took me almost a year to recover so I became a qualified soccer referee. For the first year or so I used to wear a back brace but was able to throw it away as my back got stronger.

At 40 I did my knee in and had to have to knee surgery for a torn cartilidge. I did come back after that but once my knee started hurting I decided to give it up. Over the next 8 years I did no more exercise other than walking a bit and at 48 I had an annual check up which showed me at 210 lbs and borderline blood pressure (135/90). So I started doing exercise again but not running - I did vigorous walking, yoga, pilates and weights at the "Y" and also started cycling. (3 years ago we moved to a place that has loads of cyle paths - about 150 miles of them starting right outside our street).

40lbs later I feel great, my blood pressure is back to normal and I had a resting heart rate in the 40's at the last 2 annuals physicals I had. (Company provided). I thought I had seen the end of my low heart rates let alone get back to what they used to be in my 20's and 30's.

I am convinced that long term exercise is good for you, but you have to adjust to suit your aging body.

mb 02-15-2007 02:10 AM

Re: long-term exercising
 
Have been a runner (pretty consistently 25-40 miles/week), swimmer (from 1-4 week but a lot of variation from year to year), bicyclist (1-2/week) with a bit of tennis, b-ball, roller blading and down hill skiing thrown in for the past 30 years. If I die on a trail run in the Santa Cruz mountains I'll die happy.

At 49 I have a lot more aches and pains now and I need a lot more recovery between hard efforts. I used to be able to go out and run a fast 12 miler one day and then come back and do it again the next day. If I do that now I'm sore for 3 or 4 days.

As far as longevity I think that it is a bit of a throw of the genetic dice and a lot of luck to avoid major and career ending injuries. I know a 65 year old that still cranks it up to 90 miles/week getting ready for a marathon but not many people can do that even in their twenties and thirties.

As far as being proactive to prevent problems, I think that it is much more important as you age to listen to your body and rest if you have any abnormal pain or high pulse or some other indication of a problem. I think that say cutting the running to 3 days a week and inserting a couple days of biking and/or swimming can greatly reduce the probability of a major injury.

Sort of like spreading your investments among non-correlated asset classes may protect your money spreading your excercise among different activities may protect your body.

MB

lets-retire 02-15-2007 05:44 AM

Re: long-term exercising
 
I'd have to piggy back on mb. As long as you train smart. Try to run on the softer surfaces like asphalt or hard packed dirt your should be able to run without too much injury. If you got a bad dose of genes, it could end you running career, however like your mother you might have to have your knee replaced whether you run or not. I look at it this way. I need to stay in shape and my job requires I run so running is the best exercise for it. I can do some other exercise that doesn't work as well, but I still might need a knee replacement when I'm old anyway, so I run.

donheff 02-15-2007 07:02 AM

Re: long-term exercising
 
I like running but get serious joint swelling if I do it. I work out on weights three times a week and walk a lot. I have recently started adding in the eliptical trainer twice a week - but that is boring so it may be difficult to sustain.

I am generally a lousy athlete but I like active sports I can do on my own so I frequently (not regularly) snowboard, snow-ski, windsurf, water-ski, wake-board, roller blade (used to play roller-hockey, but petered out), golf, scuba/snorkeling, bicycling, and trying kite-boarding. I "bailed" on ski-diving after a broken knee. It will be interesting to see how long I sustain this stuff.

Eagle43 02-15-2007 08:53 AM

Re: long-term exercising
 
I've been exercising for 26 years, well over 300 days each year. For 20 years or so it was jogging. Now, walking for an hour. I miss the jogging because it made me feel good when it was done. However, now my knees hurt, feet hurts, back hurts. Growing old ain't easy.

No matter what, keep exercising. Find something you can do without injury. There's very few "You oughtta do's" in ER, but exercising is one.

WM 02-15-2007 09:06 AM

Re: long-term exercising
 
Thanks for the stories and info. I guess it's kind of what I expected - too much of any one thing is likely to be a problem, but cutting back or slowing down a little as your body requires it will keep you going. And I suppose you have a point, lets-retire, that I may end up with bad knees regardless. Sigh.

I do also practice yoga, which I love and I expect that will be something I can do long after I have to cut back on running. And I think it's definitely helped balance out some of the tightness and mis-alignment that come from doing something repetitive like running.


FinanceDude 02-15-2007 10:46 AM

Re: long-term exercising
 
I think lack of adequate stretching has sent may athletes "to the showers" before their time............ :P

When you are in your 20's, you bounce back from hard workouts very quickly. As you age, and your body begins to lose elasticity, that's when you get those little "nagging injuries" that used to go away very quickly.

I have run 5 marathons, almost 200 road races, and have logged 21,000 miles over a 15 year running career. That being said, I haven't run much in the last 15 years, and really don't see a need to, with all the workouts available today, or other activities.

If I could choose one activity, it would be cycling. Easier on the joints, can make it anaerobic, aerobic, whatever you want, lots of scenery, etc. The 2nd best shape I ever got into in my life was when I raced bikes........... :)

TargaDave 02-15-2007 01:06 PM

Re: long-term exercising
 
2 Attachment(s)
I've been pretty active most of my life with biking, swimming, and gym workouts, but those were-are mostly to stay in shape for more fun activities. Lost about 8 years in my 30's (except for swimming) due to major back sugery. Kited for 5 straight hours on my last quick getaway to the Yucatan (at least 40 miles of equivalent straight line distance covered). Could barely walk for 3 days afterward but all smiles nontheless. Yep, lots of recovery time.

I learned how to "rail ride" my Superlite when I was 24. 48 now and I can still manage to pull it off so I'm a happy camper (though the ole board and bod are not so lite anymore). We'll have to see whether I'm doing any of this stuff at 65 but I sure hope so.

Nords 02-15-2007 02:10 PM

Re: long-term exercising
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by cube_rat
- injured rotator cuff from body building

Amazing how quickly those get damaged, isn't it? It's not as if our bodies give us a lot of warning before it's too late.

Quote:

Originally Posted by cube_rat
- lastly, two messed up knees that snap, crackle and pop when I shuffle walk

Almost 20 years of running that I finally gave up about 10 years ago. I had a sports physician claim that noise without pain doesn't count. But when I take the first steps of the morning (especially going downstairs) it's scary noisy.

Quote:

Originally Posted by WM
And I suppose you have a point, lets-retire, that I may end up with bad knees regardless. Sigh.

Hey, cartilage doesn't regenerate fast enough to save me. No matter what you're doing, if it hurts or if it swells then our bodies are telling us that it's time to switch to a bicycle or an elliptical trainer or take to the water.

Quote:

Originally Posted by FinanceDude
I think lack of adequate stretching has sent may athletes "to the showers" before their time............ :P
When you are in your 20's, you bounce back from hard workouts very quickly. As you age, and your body begins to lose elasticity, that's when you get those little "nagging injuries" that used to go away very quickly.

It cuts both ways. When I injured myself in college (tendonitis) I started stretching very aggressively. 10 years later I was so loose that a sports physician noticed that my knee joints had a lot of play in them, but he assumed it was genetic and I didn't think to mention the stretching. So by the time I started judo 10 years after that my knee tendons were very loose and it was no problem tearing both ACLs.

I haven't done joint stretching in months but it'll probably be years before my joints get back to "normal" tightness, if ever.

So far the worst thing about "aging" that I've noticed is the longer recovery times. But plenty of naps helps a lot!

cube_rat 02-15-2007 02:35 PM

Re: long-term exercising
 
I think the bottom line is, as we get older all of the cummulative effects of injuries will ultimately slow us down. I'm paying for being Ms. Jock Girl for all of those years. I was stupid, crazy for not heeding the warning signs years ago :uglystupid:

donheff 02-15-2007 03:03 PM

Re: long-term exercising
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Eagle43
However, now my knees hurt, feet hurts, back hurts. Growing old ain't easy.

I got worried about my feet on a trip to Europe when I was fifty. We were doing a lot of walking around teh center cities and my feet started giving me tons of trouble. After that trip they got progressively worse. Now I have a pair of custom foot orthotics and I am close to "normal." I can walk 5 or more miles without get anything more than a mild soreness. I hope this continues to work into old age.

dumpster56 02-16-2007 09:34 AM

Re: long-term exercising
 
I will be 51, I have been running since I was 12 YO. I am still running 50 to 60 miles a week. No real issues.

Sure there are days when the tendinitis is an issue BUT a few easy days ice and a couple of Those Blue advil Liqua Gels washed down with some good single malt scotch and bingo back to 10 mile a day runs!!

Never stop exercising, when you do you get RUSTY!

windsurf 02-16-2007 05:29 PM

Re: long-term exercising
 
My goals for long term exercising are 1. staying generally healthy enough to have exercise as a priority (circular, positve feedback loop). 2. maintaining muscle mass and minimalizing belly fat (my current challenge). I lift weights and notice that I am doing more work to stay in the same place. I have also learned that abdominal fat acts as an organ with substantial hormonal effect. Specifically for males, it increases zeroing out of precious testosterone and, consequently , feminization. Keep the waist inches smaller than the hips! 3. Maintaining joint cartillage. This one is challenging and I am still looking for answers. 4. Flexibility: Yoga (or Pilates). Yoga means bending and squatting (stooping) during the day and pleasantly feeling it, not just attending fromal classes. 5. cardio fitness: this seems to be a matter of mitigating inflammation (by fish oil to correct omega imbalance. We have way too many 6's b/c of grains and grain fed feed lot animals that we eat; and all measures to avoid pre-diabetes); and the right kind of exercise. I don't believe long monotonous jogs or slogs on machines are the answer. Rather, I go for variability of cardiac pace with exertional burst. I do super 8's on an exercise bike. Warm up, a 30 second burst of furious pedaling to bump my heart rate up toward max and then two minutes of recovery followed by another burst. Do eight cylces of this. The same can be done as a matter of interval sprints or real fast walking.

windsurf 02-16-2007 05:48 PM

Re: long-term exercising
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by windsurf
My goals for long term exercising are 1. staying generally healthy enough to have exercise as a priority (circular, positve feedback loop). 2. maintaining muscle mass and minimalizing belly fat (my current challenge). I lift weights and notice that I am doing more work to stay in the same place. I have also learned that abdominal fat acts as an organ with substantial hormonal effect. Specifically for males, it increases zeroing out of precious testosterone and, consequently , feminization. Keep the waist inches smaller than the hips! 3. Maintaining joint cartillage. This one is challenging and I am still looking for answers. 4. Flexibility: Yoga (or Pilates). Yoga means bending and squatting (stooping) during the day and pleasantly feeling it, not just attending formal classes. 5. cardio fitness: this seems to be a matter of mitigating inflammation (by fish oil to correct omega imbalance. We have way too many 6's rather than 3's b/c of grains and grain fed feed lot animals that we eat; and all measures to avoid pre-diabetes); and the right kind of exercise. I don't believe long monotonous jogs or slogs on machines are the answer. They entrain the heart rhythm at one pace; no responsive variability which is the hallmark of a healthy heart. Rather, I go for variability of cardiac pace with exertional bursts. I do super 8's on an exercise bike. Warm up, a 30 second burst of furious pedaling to bump my heart rate up toward max and then two minutes of recovery followed tehn by another burst. Do eight cylces of this. The same can be done as a matter of interval sprints or real fast walking.


windsurf 02-16-2007 05:51 PM

Re: long-term exercising
 
Targa Dave said: "I learned how to "rail ride" my Superlite when I was 24. 48 now and I can still manage to pull it off so I'm a happy camper (though the ole board and bod are not so lite anymore). We'll have to see whether I'm doing any of this stuff at 65 but I sure hope so."

Hey, buck up. I have several windsurfing friends (guys and gals) in their 70's. They're all exceptional skiers as well! Wish I had a Superlite. I'm not letting go of my Equipe though. Around here (light winds most of the summer) long boards rule.

TargaDave 02-18-2007 06:04 AM

Re: long-term exercising
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by windsurf
Targa Dave said: "I learned how to "rail ride" my Superlite when I was 24. 48 now and I can still manage to pull it off so I'm a happy camper (though the ole board and bod are not so lite anymore). We'll have to see whether I'm doing any of this stuff at 65 but I sure hope so."

Hey, buck up. I have several windsurfing friends (guys and gals) in their 70's. They're all exceptional skiers as well! Wish I had a Superlite. I'm not letting go of my Equipe though. Around here (light winds most of the summer) long boards rule.

Bucking up, though the coordination and balance just aren't what they used to be at 24. Learning a new trick then took a few days. Nowadays I feel like Mr Spaz. Have a unicyle and an Indo board just to practice coordination 8)


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