Use of Traditional Chinese Medicine & Acupuncture for Injuries

 

For many an athlete or simply those wishing to enjoy sports, they have often tried many of the ‘normal’ or ‘traditional’ treatment methods normally considered, such as the old ice pack (or frozen bag of peas, beans, vegetables, etc), rest, elevation, etc, etc. Many will also have exhausted the route of the physios and possibly even a trip to their doctors. For those who may be unfortunate enough to find that none of these routes have proved entirely successful and are perhaps now looking a tad frustrated, have you considered the long revered and centuries old methods of Chinese medicines? You haven’t, well why not?

This is an interesting abstract found on some recent studies:

Traditional Chinese medicine, and especially acupuncture, is becoming a routine in the treatment of sports injuries. For the practising  acupuncturist, being able to make a western medical diagnosis can be  invaluable, as can learning specific needling techniques and point  selections. This article offers an overview of the treatment of sportsinjuries by the acupuncturist, and illustrates the application of  diagnostic and different treatment methods.

Introduction

Pete Sampras, Seve Ballesteros and Bolton Wanderers football club  are among the many professional sports players and organisations turning  to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and acupuncture to treat their  sports injuries. It was found that in 1999, 54% of premiership  football clubs in the UK were using acupuncture to treat sportsinjuries.

Treating sport injuries with TCM and acupuncture, instead of  conventional treatments such as ultrasound and  interferential/electrotherapy, is now routine.

This relatively recent growth in the popularity of acupuncture for  the treatment of sports injuries may seem surprising, but it has its  roots firmly in the traditions of TCM.

History tells us that using TCM for injuries, whether derived from  sports or everyday activities, has for thousands of years been the  practice of Shaolin monks. This form of treatment was called “Dit  Dar Jow”, translated as “fall and break medicine“, and  martial artists were traditionally taught the treatment and management  of injuries sustained in training or combat. Today this art is not so  well known and tends to be guarded secretively within the different  martial arts schools and only passed down from masters to senior  students. Dit Dar Jow, for example, mainly uses herbs and patent external remedies  such as balms and poultices.

I strongly recommend that practitioners who intend to treat sports injuries learn some of the basic tests such as the anterior draw test  for anterior cruciate ligaments and the posterior draw test for  posterior cruciate ligaments. Experience has shown the importance of  using these Western medical joint, muscle and ligament tests to diagnose  an injury and ascertain its severity, not least because severe cases of  bone fractures or ligament/menisci tears require surgery or bone setting  to enable a full recovery. If a patient has not been seen by their  medical doctor, they should be referred to do so in cases where a  practitioner is in doubt about the diagnosis.

In the treatment of sports injuries with TCM, whatever the injury  may be, there will necessarily be some form of qi and blood stagnation  (pain, bruising), possibly complicated by dampness (manifesting as fluid  retention) in a local area and in the affected channels and collaterals.  The understanding of these fundamentals gives TCM practitioners an  “extra” treatment principle in their arsenal, compared to  conventional practitioners.

So once again, consider this tried and tested medical practice of the ancient Chinese. It’s been practised for hundreds of years to treat patients, long before the now ‘modern’ therapy’s were around. So if you’ve tried everything else, why not search out a local Chinese medicine and acupuncture specialist to add to your armour!

 

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‘Fat Pad’ Impingement (Hoffa’s Syndrome)

I write this piece from a personal viewpoint as unfortunately around where  live, it has come to my attention that there is simply not enough knowledge of this recognized problem.

My problems started a few months ago after completing the Berlin marathon. My IT Band went around the 19 mile mark and I only truly realised the full impact of this on my body some weeks later. Don’t get me wrong, as the pain and discomfort was obvious during the final miles of the race as I missed my goals, but it was only as I tried to step back into my training once again a couple of weeks later that I felt the need to see a physio for knee discomfort that was more than just delayed muscle onset.

I was diagnosed with IT Band syndrome and although my problems had stemmed from mechanical issues (typically weak glute not firing properly, pronating too much, weak hip, etc), the pain was very much in the knee. The IT Band had, over time, become inflamed, thickened, laid down scar tissue and continued to rub over the many bony points and bursars around my knee. This problem was perpetual as every time I tried to run, the scar tissue and tight IT Band around the knee would become thicker, laying down more scarring each time.

The physio and I threw everything at it, some serious downtime, regular ART to breakdown the scarring, dry needling to loosen the IT Band, regular massages, specific exercises to strengthen my root causes around glutes and hip. Everything, but still a nagging discomfort remained, which, in fact worsened around the ‘fat pad’ area just under and to the outside of the patella. We worked it to death with all the treatment and carefully considered everything for the inflammation (Ice, Ibruprofen, needles, rest, taping to lift the patella – usually received with good success, etc, etc), but still no real success.

Basically this ‘fat pad’ area becomes inflamed and thickened it can get ‘pinched’ between the end of the thighbone and the kneecap and is often a longstanding condition. http://bit.ly/gWYUq. Having thrown everything at it for weeks, it was decided by a few physio’s who had been heavily involved in studies in Australia that the best accepted and recognized step now would be to have a cortisone shot. It had been shown to work on many, many occasions with virtually no real risk at all (all injections / needles come with the inherent risk of infection being introduced to a site). In fact, had i been a professional athlete, this would probably have been given to me weeks and weeks ago!

Finally I went to see a doctor to try and obtain a cortisone shot to the ‘fat pad’. I was scorned away and told all about my mechanical imbalances and what was causing the knee discomfort and told to address these – I had been vigorously of course over the last several weeks and still am! I was, however sent for an X-ray which eventually showed up some small signs of the onset of arthritis, which is very normal in a gentleman of my age who has been very active over the last 10-15 years with my running, biking, soccer and skiing, etc. Still the Dr refused to give me this shot and advised me to consider another sport!

Time to look for a second opinion from a recognized sports medic in town. A little more sympathetic, but still wanted me to have an ultrasound first to better guage what was going on – although she did go on to say that she thought it may well be ‘fat pad’ impingement and when pressed, suggested that the treatment may well be a cortisone shot!!! Aaargh! Will no-one give me this shot! No, I have to wait several weeks for ultrasound before even getting there!! – Missing the Zurich marathon in April is becoming an increasing concern.

To be fair, medics are rightly concerned with cortisone shots that there is also a minimal risk that it could weaken any surrounding tendon, possibly leading to a tear or rupture, if injected into the wrong spot. However, the ‘fat pad’ area is directly under the skin and is fairly large, next to a thick tendon that is also fairly obvious – In other words ‘X’ really does mark the spot and it would be difficult for anyone to miss, with a needle or even a mallet!

It is so hard to have this malfunction diagnosed and of course, everyone has their own school of thoughts on how best to treat or tackle physical problems. However, from my experience, too many ‘experts’ are simply not skilled enough in specific knee disorders amongst athletes – bear in mind that general practitioners will have to cover an extremely wide range of medical complaints and problems and it is perhaps a little unfair to expect them to know everything, right?!

I guess time will tell if my problem has been accurately diagnosed by myself and my physio and if indeed, I can actually manage to get anyone to give me this shot. Perhaps it won’t prove to be the miracle cure I’m after, but in my case, it seems like it should at least be considered as the worst case scenario appears to be that nothing will improve.

As for our understanding and treatment of this ‘fat pad or Hoffa’s syndrome, well, it appears that some parts of the world are more dialled in and aggressive in their treatments than others.

Any feedback on this condition would be most welcome

Runners Nutrition Basics

Good basic nutrition needn’t be too complicated? These 10 simple commandments are guaranteed to make you healthier, fitter and faster

1. Plan your diet

Devise a sensible eating plan that you can stick to, which will suit your lifestyle. Don’t set yourself unreasonable targets for food consumption. Unless you’re seriously overweight, it’s unlikely that your diet will need to undergo drastic restructuring.

Start by analysing what you are eating now. Sit down with a pen and paper and ask yourself some questions about your dietary habits. Do you have breakfast? Do you feel tired and hungry by the time you run in the evening? If your diet is repetitive and boring you may not be getting the variety of foods necessary for adequate nutrient intake.

2. Eat little and often

Frequent snacking throughout the day is a sure way to avoid low blood sugar levels and tiredness by the time you get home for your run. Research shows that eating little and often is best for runners… as long as you’re eating the right things!

Make a point of taking high-carbohydrate snacks to work with you so that you aren’t caught out. Avoid high-fat snacks such as crisps and chocolate, opting instead for high-carbohydrate and low-fat snacks, which make the best fuel. Dry breakfast cereal, plain popcorn, bagels, low-fat crispbreads, bananas and other fruit are all excellent choices.

3. Don’t ignore the main meals

Regular sensible snacking is important, but proper meals are where carbo-loading really counts. Pasta is deservedly the runner’s favourite, but there are plenty of other excellent high-carbohydrate foods, such as rice, baked potatoes, lentils, muesli and even baked beans. Still, beware! Some high-carbohydrate foods are also high in fat. Lasagne, thin-crust pizza, croissants and granola are some of the worst culprits.

4. Supplement those supplements

Instead of spending a small fortune on pills and potions to supplement your diet, try to ensure that you get the vitamins and minerals you need from the food you eat.

It’s a big mistake to think that a supplement will completely satisfy your nutritional needs. Taking a pill might give you the recommended daily amount of a particular vitamin, but you also need protein, minerals, fibre and energy in the form of calories, which no pill will provide. Much nutritional goodness can be found only in the vast array of natural food ingredients and is hard to replicate to a pill + food leaves us feeling good when we choose wisely.

6. Drink more water

Water is the body’s most important nutrient. It makes up between 50 and 60 per cent of your bodyweight and provides the medium in which most of the body processes occur. Aim to drink throughout the day, with a pint of water (or a sports drink) an hour before you run, and half a pint for every 30 minutes of running. On days when you run you should aim to consume five litres during the day, twice as much as is necessary on rest days.

8. Don’t forget your pre-race meal

You’re well-versed in the idea of carbo-loading, but there are still a few tricks of the trade that can help you to race at your best. Firstly, don’t overeat late the night before as this will make sleep harder to come by. Secondly, don’t think of that final plate of pasta on the eve of the race as your last meal. Your body will use up some of that food energy overnight, so make sure you have breakfast. European 5000 and 10,000m champion Sonia O’Sullivan chooses bread or cereal, coffee, perhaps a banana and lots of water, but the carbohydrate combination you opt for is up to you. Just cut right down on fat and protein, which take a long time to digest. Coffee is fine if it’s part of your normal routine – just be sure to drink plenty of water along with it.

9. Learn to drink on the run

Lengthy races – 10Ks and longer – often have drinks stations to replace lost fluids, and if you are running a marathon they will help you to scale the dreaded ‘wall’. Drinking on the run is an import element of technique and one you will need to practice prior to your race. Before you start the race, find out whether the drinks stations are providing water, or carbohydrate drinks as well. If you plan to use a carbo drink, be sure that you’ve tested it in practice runs. As you approach the station look right; most runners prefer to veer left to collect their drink, so the other side is often less crowded. Grab the cup with one hand and instantly cover the cup with the other if you plan to drink it as you run. Don’t be afraid to stop and walk; a few seconds spent drinking properly will easily pay off in terms of performance.

10. Carbo-load for recovery

Immediately after a race or a hard training run it is important to refuel your body with high-carbohydrate food or drink. The 30 minutes or so are absolutely the best time to consume carbohydrates and protein as the body’s muscles and tissues are highly receptive and primed to absorb their vital nourishment needed to repair itself. After this, the first four hours after strenuous exercise is a crucial time for taking on new glycogen to replace what you’ve lost lost while working hard. Aim to keep stocking up every 15 minutes or so rather than gorging on one meal, because this maintains higher blood glucose and insulin concentrations, which in turn makes greater absorption into the muscles possible. Recent research suggests that including around 25 per cent protein in your recovery food will optimise the recovery of your muscles.

All in all, enjoy your food, but avoid too much ‘fatty’ food, especially the ‘wrong’ fats. Try to eat a balanced diet with fresh fruits, veg, fish and lean meats. Portion control is hard to learn, but great for your body’s digestion and absorption. Keep well hydrated and recognise that as you begin to clock up the miles each week, your body will crave the extra nourishment, but don’t abuse it!

The year’s hardwork doesn’t have to end with a holiday blowout..!

You’ve worked hard all year to improve your fitness, drop a few pounds, run your first half marathon and you’re on track to reach that end goal of completing the upcoming marathon you entered a few months back. Trouble is, the marathon is only 4-5 weeks away, you’ve got big plans made for your festive holidays, the family is coming for a few days, friends are in town and will want to meet up for a few drinks, not to mention the two or three Xmas parties you’ll be in attendance for.

Chances are you’ll probably drink more than you should, have too many late nights, eat far too much rich and generally ‘wrong’ food and set yourself back a week or two in your training and all your dedication and hard work. Why not though? You’ve worked damn hard for months and months, so why shouldn’t you?

There’s no reason why you shouldn’t enjoy the festive season and indulge a little, just don’t do it to excess or too often. It does us good to let of steam from time to time. It keeps us balanced and bizarrely, often ‘on track’ as it allows us a brief escape from watching our food and drink intake and perhaps missing out on the ‘odd’ celebratory indulgence you may otherwise have enjoyed with  a little more vigour. So long as it is a brief ‘escape’ of course and it’s not  a slow and general decline into ‘bad’ habits, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to carry on training toward your end goal.

So consider some of these suggestions and tips as the festivities approach:

Staff party – Should i drink and be merry? Sure, why not. However, if you do have a few of these functions to attend, perhaps consider volunteering to be the designated driver for one. Try and alternate one alcoholic beverage with another soft drink (ideally water) to keep yourself hydrated and allay the impending sore head and malaise of the next morning.

Don’t give up on your running just because you’re busy. Yes, you have the family coming round and you have other duties to oversee, but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still manage to get out for a run, even if it’s just a half hour run wherever you can fit it in, perhaps whilst everyone’s still in bed. This isn’t an opportunity to for an easy excuse! Think – If you don’t exercise, it’ll just take longer to get back into shape later! – I remember Xmas day morning runs along a seafront each year with everyone  (obviously very keen!) getting up early in the brisk, crisp air and donning a ‘Santa’ hat and occasionally some tinsel. This used to be one of the more social and fun morning runs, but kudos to all those who saw fit to do so before carrying on with their day’s plans!

Christmas, joggers wearing santa hats, bikinis, and swimsuits running in wintry Boston Common park, 4152

Unfortunately this wasn’t a scene from my Xmas morning runs, but one I wish I had been around for instead. Look out Boston 2010 !

While everyone is feeling bloated and stuffed after their Xmas day blowout and the temptation is to have that little afternoon nap, suggest going for a walk. Drag a few other ‘willing’ members of the household party with you for some fresh air and open your lungs. Offer to walk the ‘visitors’ dogs. So long as you have sufficient time to digest your meal (s), if everyone is snoozing, you could always go for a run then, although I recognise that this a bit extreme for many!! If you have another house party to go to in the evening or even if the general consensus is to go to a bar that may be open, walk there (and walk back – not forgetting the dog if he came with someone!)!

Just because everyone associates the festive period with over-indulgence, this doesn’t mean you have to! There’s plenty of good, healthy food around for everyone usually. Fruit (full of fibre, vitamins, anti-oxidants, etc), nuts (rich in many nutrients including omega 3 fats – just don’t have too many), vegetables galore, turkey (a great source of lean meat and protein). Consider, if you haven’t exercised much the last day or so, you won’t need to consume as much as usual when in full training or logging many a mile, so don’t overfill your plate. As for any cake…just don’t go back for third and fourth helpings!

Perhaps you could be extra diligent and avoid  the ‘fatty’ mayonnaise and the double whipped cream all over desert. Perhaps have your Xmas cake (fruit cake) without all the icing and marzipan. Limit your alcohol intake where possible and try to keep hydrated at all times with water, this will also help prevent you from overeating at meal times if you have a glass before eating.

Whatever you choose to do this festive period – enjoy yourselves! Remember your goals  though. There is no reason not to keep up your exercise. Sure, a day or two off may actually do you some good for the body’s muscle tissue and sinews to heal and repair, but this season doesn’t mean you simply have to stop altogether. Remember all the hard work and toil involved in getting you to this point!

Why make the upcoming marathon or event any harder than it needs to be? Just don’t over indulge too often, but enjoy yourself and precious time with friends and families.

Running Through The Pain!

Can’t get away from it. As much as I adore the activities keeping me around the mountains, such as skiing and mountain biking, etc, it is my running that is truly my number one passion. I perhaps discovered it a little late in life to make any real success out of it – like hundreds and thousands of others who, as maturing adults, decided to take up jogging or running to get healthy, lose weight, or perhaps meet a challenge (or a bet) to run a marathon maybe.

That said, it is something I take very seriously and dedicate myself to where possible. I have now run in a few marathons, 3 this year in fact – Vancouver, San Francisco and Berlin. The year has ended a little disappointing for myself as I’d hoped to finish up the calendar with a sub 2hr 40 run in september’s flat Berlin marathon. For a number of reasons (mainly my IT Band going at @ the 19 mile mark), I failed to nail this and I have earmarked Zurich in April 2011 to put right these wrongs. However, this all seems a long way off right now as I continue to struggle with my IT Band, some 8/9 weeks into intensive physio, can barely string a few miles together before the discomfort beats me and I’m now open to any and all suggestions as I’m in real need for a positive move forward if I’m to seriously knuckle down and apply myself in time for Zurich. The next option for me is to look long and hard at possibly having a cortisone injection.

This of course, is a familiar story to many runners who pick up little knocks, pulls and strains (mainly ‘overuse’ injuries) as a matter of course. How these ‘injuries’ are managed, rested, treated, etc are often the difference between full and quick recovery and prolonged suffering and reccurring problems. Naturally, many of us tend to learn the hard way!

Many would say, ‘give up’ at this point. Not a runner! We’re made of sterner stuff. Perhaps a little naive or stubborn at times in perhaps accepting that we’re damaged and need to rest up and nurse ourselves a little better. We push ourselves through wind, rain and snow and tell everyone that we’re enjoying this. T’is true! I actually love running in weather that is considered ‘filthy’ by many. We run through bad colds, coughs and other ailments, often refusing to accept that we’re sick or listening to our own advice. I’m a firm believer in ‘do as I say, not as I do’ mantra.  

Getting out there to run, even if on a treadmill as the snow and ice on the roads present too much of a hazard or inconvenience, is an absolute ‘must’. Always been that way I’m afraid. Like a stressed, caged animal, pacing around my house, I need the release of a good run…any run in fact. Yes, I guess you could say I’m addicted and yes I do need my ‘fix’. Gotta have that good workout that gets the endorphins flowing. Ask any runner and they’ll tell you the same!

Importance of ‘Good Fats’ in Healthy Diet – Omega 3

Fats and Omega 3

Now it should be pointed out that ‘fats’ are actually an essential part of all of our diets, or at least it should be. What needs to be considered, however, is how much fat is consumed and more specifically, what type of fats. You may have heard of ‘good’ fats & ‘bad’ fats, well here we concentrate promarily on ‘Omega 3’.            

Omega 3 fats are essential to health. Found mainly in oily fish, they improve heart health and brain function.

 

The recommended daily intake of essential fatty acids, including Omega 3 and Omega 61, has been set by the Government at six per cent of our dietary energy total. It has also recommended a weekly Omega 3 target of 1.5g.

Department of Health guidelines state that we should all eat at least two portions of fish every week, and one of those portions should be oily fish, such as salmon or mackerel.

Surveys show that most people currently only eat one third of a portion of oil-rich fish per week2 and are therefore falling short of the recommended intake and the associated health benefits of Omega 3 fats.

What are fatty acids?

Fatty acids are the building blocks of fat and there are three different types: saturated fatty acids, monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids.

While monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats can lower blood cholesterol and help reduce the risk of heart disease, saturated fats can raise blood cholesterol and increase the risk of heart disease.

There is a special sub group of polyunsaturated fatty acids known as Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs). They are called ‘essential’ as they are not easily manufactured by the body and must be provided by food. They are split into two groups:

Omega 3 These are found in oily fish (such as , fish oils, some vegetable oils (olive oil & Canola oil) and some nuts and seeds (walnuts and flaxseeds are excellent sources). Omega 3 is not limited only to these foods as it can also be found in kindney beans and soy beans to name a few.

Omega 6 These are found in vegetable oils, nuts, seeds and grains. In general we get sufficient Omega 6 fats in our diet from vegetable oils used in cooking, polyunsaturated spreads, nuts, seeds and grains. Omega 3 fats, however, are found in fewer foods so it is important to ensure we get enough, especially by eating more oily fish.

Chart showing types of fat and the foods they are found in

Why are Omega 3 fats so important?

Omega 3 fats are needed for the body’s normal growth and development. They are used to maintain the membranes of all cells including those of the nervous system, the liver, eyes and kidneys. They are also vital for good muscle function, inflammation and for blood clotting.

Omega 3 fats are part of the family of ‘good’ polyunsaturated fats and there is increasing evidence that Omega 3 fatty acids, when eaten as part of a healthy diet, can help maintain heart health.

They have been shown to lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart disease and strokes, and protect against heartbeat abnormalities. They are thought to reduce the risk of heart disease through their effect on blood triglyceride (lipid) levels, rather than in the reduction of blood cholesterol.

Omega 3 fats are also vital to normal brain function. The need for Omega 3 is increased significantly during the last three months of pregnancy as it is needed for the development of a baby’s brain and eyes. It is particularly important for the mother-to-be to get the correct levels of Omega 3 from dietary sources during this time.

Scientific evidence is emerging that long-chain Omega 3 fats may also help to increase concentration span, and may aid those with attention deficit disorder, Alzheimer’s disease or depression.

In addition, Omega 3 may be beneficial to anyone suffering from psoriasis and inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis and some bowel disorders.

What are the sources of Omega 3?

Omega 3 fats occur naturally in seeds as alpha linolenic acid (ALA). However, the most effective Omega 3 fats occur naturally in oily fish as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

Good sources of ALA include: linseed (flaxseed) oil, linseeds, soya bean oil, pumpkin seeds, walnut oil, rapeseed oil and soya beans.

The body can convert ALA into EPA and DHA, but not very efficiently. This is why oily fish plays such an important role in our diet. Oily fish contains EPA and DHA in a ‘ready made’ form that the body can use easily.

The main sources of oily fish in the UK include salmon, trout, mackerel, herring, sardines, pilchards and kippers, either fresh, frozen, canned or smoked. Tinned tuna does not count as it does not contain the high levels of oils found in fresh and frozen tuna.

 

What about vegetarians and vegans?

If you follow either a vegetarian or a vegan diet, your main dietary source of Omega 3 will be from ALA (alpha linolenic acid). As the conversion of ALA in the body to EPA and DHA may not be sufficient to provide these two vital fatty acids in the amounts the body needs, lots of plant sources of ALA must be eaten. An additional source of Omega 3 may be required in the form of a supplement to maintain healthy levels.

Should I take supplements?

For those who choose not to eat fish, supplements are a sensible way to get the Omega 3 that the body needs. Cod liver and fish oil capsules are a good source of EPA and DHA and in some cases contain vitamins A and D as well. However, if you are taking a supplement that contains vitamins A and D it is important not to exceed the recommended dose. If you are taking any medication you must seek your doctor’s advice.

Remember though, all of the above should be considered as part of a well balanced diet.

What Age Limits? Just Accept the Changes!

So I am fortuitous to live in an environment that truly lends itself to an active and healthy lifestyle. That is, I live in Whistler, BC – mountain biking and skiing mecca renown across the globe for these sports. One of the biggest, baddest and yet very welcoming mountain ranges in the world that is skied by hundreds of thousands each year and attracts similar numbers in its warmer months to explore its hundreds of mountain biking and hiking trails and world famous downhill mountain bike park. 

Still enough juice left for a pose

Living around these parts is definitely a lifestyle choice. Clean, fresh air, a smoking by-law that prohibits anyone smoking within 6 meters of any doorway, air filters, drinking or dining patio (if only it could be banned altogether..), this truly is a unique part of the western world for many good reasons and one in which thousands sample every year.

In winter, many a local will think nothing of perhaps skiing for a couple of hours before work, or, perhaps taking in a spot of x-country skiing after work for an evening activity. During the warmer months, thoughts turn to spending any time they can on their mountain bikes as they propel themselves around the hundreds of kilometers of trails around the valley and mountains. What more of a picture perfect place to get out and go for a run or a hike, where everywhere there are sights that continue to take your breath away. The summer draws many to its lakes to swim and kayak or simply relax after all of these activities, but whatever the choice, there are an abundant list of reasons why those here love to be active and partake in the adrenaline fuelled sports.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending how you look at this, there is an excellent medical center on hand here, which I can tell you from considerable experience, is a very busy place to be. Neither skiing / boarding or mountain biking should be seen as dangerous sports, but do of course, carry their own inherent risks. Too often one can see someone with their slings or plaster casts being adorned or hobbling on their newly acquired crutches – like a badge of honour.

Now, for all it’s ‘healthy’ activities, there are an abundance of ‘drinking holes’ for one to relax or party. Despite the resort’s parent company trying desperately over the years to slowly change its reputation, this resort is often recognized as a party town. This is a truism of these parts in so much that many individuals like to do things to excess. Party hard at night (and day sometimes..) and ski or ride hard during the day. Not easy to do, believe me! Maybe in my more youthful days I could have strung a couple of days together like this, but it’s perhaps best left to those with ‘fresher’ ink on their birth certificates.

So the onset of age does affect us, doesn’t it? Not everyone, but for most, yes! It is an unescapable fact that as we tick of the years, our bodies that just that little bit longer to recover. Whatever we ask of our bodies, be it to consume a little too much alcohol, ski hard all day long, train for the next physical challenge or simply to recover from an injury, it just doesn’t get any easier. Now, we can either accept and respect this fact or continue to suffer as we push our bodies further. We can help ourselves of course, by eating a little healthier, perhaps drinking a little less and perhaps getting just that little bit of extra rest, but none will turn back the clock.

No-one’s saying we should consider putting our feet up and watch the grass grow around us once we reach a certain age. In fact, it is quite noticeable in some sports that they are becoming more popular and competitive amongst the slightly more mature athletes, especially in endurance events. The ‘sprinting’ or more powerhouse sports will usually always be dominated by the more youthful individuals as their elasticity and ability to recover comes more naturally.

Much of the ’emergence’ of older athletes is perhaps as much of a realization that they have a passion for a sport, perhaps a little wiser these days and maybe a little more dedicated and driven. Many younger guys and gals in their early adulthood are simply unconcerned by the effects of any excesses and aren’t enthused to perhaps tap into any unreached potential they might have. For those younger athletes that do come to the ‘plate’, they are typically spotted and coached from a young age through schools and colleges, etc. Those whose talents and abilities aren’t spotted, all too often fall through the cracks and the unlocked potential is lost forever – or at least until a few years have passed them by and some level of maturity, changing goals, lifestyle, etc drives them to challenge themselves and apply themselves diligently toward their goal.

Whatever the lifestyle, whatever excesses we ask our bodies to go through with us, it’s a choice. Just as it is my choice to train and race. I’ve learned (read – still learning!) the hard way what my body will take, how to train harder or better, to allow recovery adaptions benefits to occur. I’ve spent hours and hours in physio for various ailments and maybe wouldn’t have needed to so much say 10 years ago, but years of effort, perhaps poor training and body genetics and mechanics constantly force me to evaluate how to do things more ‘effectively. Food and diet play a huge part in our lifestyles. It can make a huge difference in how we feel and recover. How often have your yearned for a healthy meal or two, to consume some fresh fruit and veg as your feeling lousy having spent a day or two eating poorly on fast food, greasy meals, etc? The nutrients we can take from many ingredients have a good deal many benefits and shouldn’t be ignored.

Each to their own, but age needn’t be a ‘boundary’, but looking after the body is something we should all consider.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-KuXbNGs29o

http://www.newsweek.com/photo/2010/11/11/senior-athletes.html