Some of you may know that I have two young rippers on the mountain. It brings me such joy seeing them improve over the years. Not only two years ago, my youngest son was tethered to a harness. Now he is seeking his own tracks along the little tree runs. As their skiing ability trajectory is only up, I strive to keep up and often fail at doing so. Whether it is my own skill or the aches and pains in my own body that prevent me from keeping up with my kids, I often have to succumb and let them win our races.
This presents me with the question of how to slow down the aging process to have some hope in skiing alongside the younger generation.
It’s true that injuries often come back to haunt you. With time and age, pain often is tied to a myriad of injury stories from over the years. To reduce the haunting pains, best to take care of those injuries today. If you haven’t recovered from the acute injury in time you can still give yourself an upper edge by following some of these tips to keep active and to continue to do what you love.
Exercise. Conditioning can keep you going longer on the hill. Most injuries occur when we are fatigued. That one last run phenomena. Strong muscles and greater stamina can prevent injuries, keeping you out on the runs longer. Kids naturally do conditioning with the variety of sports they are in, gym class and monkey bars. Let’s mimic this by joining a bootcamp, getting in regular fitness or bending into yoga strengthening poses.
Glucosamine sulphate can pack a punch to treat arthritis pain and inflammation. If your knees swell after a bumps day, consider trying glucosamine. This compound is naturally found in your joint’s synovial fluid and has been shown to slow progression of arthritis by preventing cartilage breakdown. Your own body’s production of Glucosamine often abates after 40, making supplementation sensible. Glucosamine works best for those with Osteoarthritis where cartilage is lost – coined as “bone on bone”. I typically suggest for patients to give Glucosamine a 3-month trial to see if it reduces pain from the degenerative joint disease.
Up your Oils and Reduce Inflammatory Foods. Wild salmon. Mackerel. Herring. Cod. All of these fish are rich in omega 3 fatty acids. If you suffer from osteoarthritis or can’t get enough of these fish in your diet, supplementing with high quality omega 3 oil is a way to go. If your regular diet leans toward anti-inflammatory foods — think plant based organic diet - your body has a head start when it comes to any recovery process. The pain you experience after a tough day following the kids can be lessened if your body has the fuel to keep inflammation in check.
Keeping at your Ideal weight. If you are overweight, there is more pressure and stress on your weight bearing joints - hips and knees. Progression of osteoarthritis can slow down with even modest weight loss. Keeping within a healthy body mass index not only reduces your risk for chronic disease, it also reduces your risk of injury. I have found the key to weight loss is an individual journey. Looking at food sensitivities, hormone balance or optimal sleep can be what is needed for you to get to that ideal weight.
Stay Hydrated. No that’s not a beer or wine. But consume half your body weight in ounces of water each day. If you feel that you are up on your water intake and very active, adding electrolytes into your day can be what you need to keep your cells hydrated. Joints are made up of a fluid filled capsule. Dehydration will affect this fluid and as such the cushioning in the joints. Dehydrated muscles also become stiffer, and are more prone to muscle aches and pains.
Keep Aligned. Muscle tension or structural imbalance can create referral pain. Tight muscles or nerve impingement in the low back can cause hip pain. Knee pain can be sourced from up or down the chain - ankle instability or muscle tension in the low back. Keeping structurally aligned can help alleviate pain and keep you in top form. Having an assessment from a chiropractor can do wonders as well as scheduling regular massage. Or if injuries are more chronic in nature, looking into injection treatments like prolotherapy or platelet rich plasma would be an option.
I encourage you to keep persevering. Kids have an advantage as their trajectory of improvement is quite steep. But having grit and willing to keep at it overcomes obstacles every time. So get your sleep, keep up with the strength training, eat well and above all have fun. The way I see it, it’s great family time, even if we only are sticking together while on the chairlift or when they are seeking treats at the Edge.
Read more at Apex Matters February Edition