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Inline Skating Newsletter Article

Do You have Boomeritis™?

By Liz Miller

2/14/2004 Update: I just discovered This site has tons of useful information about injury prevention as well as how to care for joint problems from A - Z. Now I know it takes from 3 weeks to a full year for new ligament tissue to reach full strength. Sigh. --Liz

I'd always planned to age gracefully, expecting I would accept the facial wrinkles and other badges of advanced wisdom as they arrive. But now that I'm 48, this goal seems a bit more elusive than I'd imagined. Even though the anatomy below my chin would still look pretty impressive on a fitness enthusiast 15 years my junior, I am really quite dismayed by the non-visible aging processes that have dogged my days for the last 3 or 4 years!

Alerted by a recent snippet in Fitness and SpeedSkating Times, I ordered a few copies of the pamphlet Boomeritis™, a joint (literally!) effort by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and two orthopedic surgeon societies. They arrived within a couple of weeks, along an article from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons' Prevent Injuries America! series entitled Prevent Inline Skating Injuries. This great little write-up repeats the safety advice I give my beginning skating students week after week.

Boomeritis should interest many of my inline clients and acquaintances, because most of them are Boomers like me. I recognized myself immediately in the pamphlet's opening paragraph:

Counting the Complaints

After reading the two-page pamphlet, I took a tally of my own complaints. Let's see, there's the tennis elbow from overloaded biceps curls, the jammed "skier's thumb" that took almost all last winter to heal, the roaming spinal spasms that haunt me more than I care to admit, and calf muscles that seize up when I stand on my tiptoes. I hate to think I must continue to tolerate these woes and more to reach my goal of athleticism until I'm 120 years old! Or will Boomeritis turn me into an old lady by the time I'm 80, restricted to hours of doing needlepoint in a rocking chair? (I can already see myself wearing a helmet as I rock!)

Here's what I'm hearing from my healthcare pros: "Take it easy, Liz! You're not as young as you used to be!" Well I'm sorry, but that's the last thing active folks in my generation want to hear. It seems like such a cop-out, to use an old boomer term. But the Boomeritis pamphlet is repeating that same advice, although it still allows for an active lifestyle. It points out that our current ailments are the result of years of overuse and general wear and tear on joints, old injury flare-ups, and yes, advancing years.

The CPSC cites an alarming increase in the last two years of activity-related injuries in the 50+ age group that require medical treatment. Most of our hurts involve various forms of tendonitis (inflamed connective tissue at the joint), bursitis in the shoulder from overhead or throwing activities, and sprains and strains gained through trauma or over use. It doesn't mention work-related over use injuries, but I know many people in the computer industry struggling to keep on working in spite of severe carpal tunnel syndrome caused by typing at a keyboard all day.

How to "Take it Easy" and Still Stay Active

If you have a growing number of aches and pains, the Boomeritis pamphlet offers sensible advice to keep you active, fit and flexible while avoiding the risk of new injuries. (And they did not forbid you to take up inline skating!) Here are my abbreviated interpretations of the CPSC tips:

To inoculate my own self against a more acute case of Boomeritis, I have begun to replace one weight workout per week with yoga stretches and power moves, and have added a 10-minute warm-up and 15 minutes of stretching before every workout. But I'm still skiing and skating as hard and as often as ever. That's the payoff, after all!

Ordering Information

It's likely you know of people or organizations who might benefit from receiving this important information. To order one or more free copies of Boomeritis™, write to:

Pat Julitz
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgery
6300 No. River Road
Rosemont, IL 60081
Fax: 847-823-1822

This publication was co-authored by:

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgery
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine