photo courtesy of Train with Joan
“Long term physical exercise is safe and effective in older adults… Sedentariness is the lethal condition.” (Izquierdo, 2021)
If exercise were a pill, it would be the most universally prescribed medication, young and old. Exercise can help reduce the risk or mitigate the effects of, cognitive decline, heart disease, diabetes, metabolic syndromes, sarcopenia (age related muscle loss), respiratory illnesses, depression, anxiety, pain and so much more. Two diseases that exercise has been shown to help where there is no medicinal intervention are sarcopenia (loss of muscle mass) and dementia. Yet, only 23% of people aged 18-80 in the US meet minimum recommended activity guidelines (150 minutes of moderate-vigorous aerobic training and 2+ days of resistance training).
Running is a common cross training activity for cyclists, particularly during the colder months. Between clothing choices, limited light and road conditions, running can be the easier and safer choice. Despite the MANY pros of running, one potential con is the risk of injury. Runners are inherently injury prone. Studies report a range of 20-80% of runners get injured during a single training year (1). Cyclists are not immune and arguably at an increased risk. The question is what can cyclists do to enjoy running and limit injury risk?
Over the past year or longer I have been offering Blood Flow Restriction training (BFRT) to FoleyPhysicalTherapys list of services. From a continuing education standpoint this is an area with an obscene amount of research to completely immerse oneself in and I decided to jump in to training and application in the early part of 2020.
In the Musculoskeletal/orthopedic care world treatments such a platelet rich plasma (PRP), stem cell use (in specific select forms only in the US), glucosamine and nutraceutical injections have come to the forefront of physician care options. They are considered "regenerative" treatments, loosely defined as using the bodies own materials to heal. It is early in the evolution/application and evidence is still in flux regarding the efficacy of these tools, but there is an encouraging progress with these proactive treatments.. BFRT is a similar game changer in my world and I can use it on nearly all patients in various degrees, including non injured folks, to make meaningful changes in their strength.
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A couple of weeks ago 2 aging athletes Tom Brady and Drew Brees, both in their 40s played against each other in a football playoff game and a lot was made of their collective ages and longevity. Which on the same weekend when 2 other younger, successful quarterbacks in the league finished their nights in the locker room with concussions is pretty astonishing durability. But beyond their abilities to endure knee and shoulder and head injuries through their 18-20 year professional careers what else makes this so amazing is the level of training they have to maintain at an age when physical therapists are just beginning to regularly treat people in that same demographic for routine knee, hip and back issues. The Harvard Health News does periodic stories about great topics including this recent one on age related muscle breakdown and this link will take you to it for todays discussion: