The Montana Senior Olympics was held in Missoula, Montana in September 2021. Senior means anyone over the age of 50. We may smirk at 50 being a “senior”, but the reality is if we don’t continue to keep our bodies conditioned for the activities we wish to pursue from the ages of 30 or 40, once we get to 50 it provides greater challenges to compete.
This year, the Montana Senior Olympics hosted 495 athletes in 15 sports including: track and field, tennis, swimming, archery, basketball, pickleball, and cycling – to name a few. How could you not be inspired by the athleticism and commitment of these participants with the oldest competitor at 99 years young? One athlete said, “it takes a commitment to keep moving and to keep strong.” An 84-year-old pickleball player said he started with a personal trainer a few times a week to keep himself in the game.
This team photo is of the Montana Cutthroats, a 65-and-over softball team with players mainly from Montana, who brought home the Class AA division in the World Senior Softball USA Championship in September 2021. These players are having fun and competing at the highest level, at any age.
Dr. Amrine gave patient Matt Skenazy ‘beacons of hope’ and was quoted in this article My Quest to Bulletproof Myself Against Injury, written by Matt for Outside Magazine, June 18, 2021. The article talks about the struggles of having a string of nagging injuries when you hit a certain age, and how your body just doesn’t perform and recover like it used to. Finding the right provider can be critical to staying away from the ‘downward spiral’. There is no magic fix, it takes following a program tailored to your needs and consistency. Dr. Amrine was quoted in the article saying, “If you train your body, and do the appropriate things for your age, you can actually make even a 60-year-old human machine work very, very well.”
If you are feeling frustrated by a string of nagging injuries, this article is a must read. Dr. Amrine uses a metaphor by comparing the human body to a racecar, and highlights the importance of tinkering to find the right approach and maintenance to make sure we are running at the top of our capacity. We get to a certain age, and that age is different for everybody, we start to say, “I guess my body doesn’t work like it used to”, or, “this must be the normal aging process.” This is probably true to some degree, but maybe this is an excuse, and it is time to put in the time and energy to keep our bodies in the appropriate functioning capacity to do the things we still enjoy doing.
Regular strength and conditioning exercises specific to the activities you wish to pursue is an important component for keeping your body able to participate at your desired level. Talk with a Physical Therapist, Personal Trainer, or Sports Medicine doctor about your goals for continuing to stay active and in the game, injury free, with less wear and tear on your joints. The sooner the better.