(NewsUSA) - Exercise improves health at any age. But when unprepared boomers hit tracks, trails and tennis courts, they can harm their bodies.
"Weekend warriors and boomers are more susceptible to injury because oftentimes they are not keeping themselves physically prepared," says Dr. Anne Meyer, whose private practice in West Los Angeles, Calif., focuses on sports rehabilitation.
Physical activities can strain ligaments and muscles, and damage joints. Falls and overexertion can injure aging exercisers. But boomers don't have to exchange outdoor fun for weekends spent channel surfing.
With a few steps, exercisers can stay both active and healthy. According to Meyer, exercising and stretching three times a week can help prepare boomers' bodies for active weekends.
Simple stretching before and after exercise can help prevent injury. Boomers should always include warm-ups and cool-downs in their workout routines. Nutrition also helps the body recover from exercise. Limiting processed foods and consuming more fresh fruits, vegetables and high-quality proteins encourages the body to build healthy new tissues.
"Tissues are constantly being renewed. Sometimes what you remove from your diet is more important than what you add. Artificial sweeteners should be eliminated," Meyer advises. "To keep hydrated, exercisers need to drink water often. Eating a small amount every four hours can boost metabolism and keep bodies energized during exercise. Weekend warriors with arthritis may want to avoid citrus, which can aggravate arthritic symptoms. Fish oils are a good addition to help decrease inflammation."
If an injury occurs, boomers should rest, apply ice, elevate an injured arm or leg, and consider treating pain with topical agents.