CNY Orthopedic Sports Medicine, PC: Article: General Health and Fitness: Ages 17-49

 

General Health and Fitness: Ages 17-49
Evan Herold
ActiveLifeNetwork
Copyright 2000

A surprising number of sports related injuries are the result of on-again, off-again athletic activity. A person who engages in athletic activity at an intensity level beyond their conditioning is more likely to cause injury to themselves.

A regular and consistent fitness regime can help reduce the likelihood of sore muscles, hurt knees and sprained ligaments for these "weekend warriors". But perhaps more significantly, individuals that train regularly and focus on specific goals can greatly improve their overall health, building a strong body that will better stand-up to the aging process.

In this age range, athletic activity, interests and ability can greatly vary across individuals. For most, a basic and consistent fitness program that includes a mix of aerobic exercise and strength training will provide substantial benefits. Higher-level athletes may need to focus on sports-specific or body zone-specific training to progress past their current abilities. Individuals that have health problems, however, should carefully tailor their fitness program with the help of a physician to avoid increasing any injury or health risks.

As is often noted, introducing a social aspect to athletic training can greatly improve an individual's enjoyment, performance and consistency of activity. Workout partners or aerobics classes are usually beneficial if only because they help people keep a commitment to exercise. Working alone is better for some, but many people will find that including others in their training is the single most important step in their fitness regime.

A consistent workout schedule also helps individuals achieve goals, which is a great motivating factor. Often goals can be very simple: to compete in a race, to reach a certain body-weight or to run a certain distance. Working towards clearly identifiable goals helps people track their progress. It also provides a measure to identify weaknesses - areas of an individual's health that should be targeted for improvement.

For the adult amateur athlete, strength and endurance training is vitally important; it reduces the likelihood of injury, increases flexibility, adds protective bone and muscle mass, and reinforces the often-injured joints of the body. Leg strengthening, for example, can greatly reduce the occurrence of ligament injuries in the knees, one of the most frequent injuries of the occasional athlete.

Joints that are injured as a child or adult often become increasingly problematic later in life. These effects can be reduced and mitigated after injury; athletic activity helps restore flexibility and motion, and increases blood flow to the damaged region.

Perhaps most importantly, maintaining a healthy body through adulthood can greatly improve quality of life as the aging process begins to affect the body. As individuals age, joints are susceptible to many degenerative conditions like osteoarthritis. Younger people may also face the same sort of injuries which may also include fractures, dislocations, sprains, and strains. Most people will find that a consistent and goal oriented fitness program will do much to reduce these problems in adulthood, as well as provide a good foundation for later in life.

 


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