The summer sun beckons. Baby Boomers yearn to look healthy and vibrant, to slim down and tone up.
Overzealous at the gym, or on an adventure trip, many discover too late that they've overdone it, and have ended up injured.
The Frontrunner of Boomeritis
Dr. Nicholas A. DiNubile, an orthopedic surgeon from Haverford, PA coined the term ‘Boomeritis’ to draw attention to an aging generation prone to sports and exercise injuries.
The co-specialist in sport medicine began warning his 55 Plus cohorts about musculoskeletal injuries – tendinitis, bursitis, and arthritis – when active members of his generation presented their ailments to him, during personal fitness routines and in private practice.
Bending the Curve of the Aging Process
“The Baby Boomers are the first generation to realize that they possessed a degree of control over the aging process,” said DiNubile. “Certain lifestyles can bend the curve and slow down the aging process.” In response, Baby Boomers hit the fitness/exercise trend in droves.
DiNubile noted the physical and psychological benefits of staying active, but warned of Boomers’ tendency to overdo it. “Eighty percent of the adult population needs some modification to their fitness routines to stay out of trouble.” DiNubile recommended that Boomers focus on core work.
Boomers need to do a lot of research to locate capable personal trainers, because many employ exercise routines that aggravate existing conditions. “Personal trainers tend to be younger than Boomer clients and need to consider that they’re dealing with aging bodies. One-size-fits-all programs are dangerous,” warned DiNubile.
The Fountain of Youth
Despite set-backs to the Boomer fitness movement, the orthopedic/sports medicine specialist deeply believes in its virtues. “Always find a reason to exercise. It’s the closest thing to the fountain of youth.”
The key outcomes are a longer, healthier and more vibrant life. “You’re adding life to your years more so than years to your life,” said DiNubile. “Exercise and a healthy lifestyle enables you to reach your genetic potential and maybe beyond.”
The Miles Nadal JCC Fitness Centre in downtown Toronto is a year-round hub of activity for health and exercise. Colin Blayney, Active 55 Plus Coordinator, has developed many programs for middle-aged and older adults.
The River of Denial
Blayney believes Baby Boomers’ lack of acceptance of aging is a form of denial.
“I call it self-ageism,” said the medical-exercise specialist, “when aging people are unable to admit they have become older.” Blayney believes it’s more than an exercise problem. “It’s a life problem.”
Blayney is a 43-years-old Gen Xer. His maturity has led him to an understanding of 55+ clients. Aware of his own personal limits, he’s learned to stay within them. A post rehab professional, Blayney helps clients make the transition into appropriate exercise for better daily functioning.
“All people should exercise, but specifically this age group,” said Blayney.
Boomers stand on the precipice of anti-aging and Boomeritis. There’s an art and a science to finding the middle path.