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Now browsing: Hometown News > Columnist Archives > Seniors - Fit After 50

Injury and exercise
Rating: 2.87 / 5 (214 votes)  
Posted: 2006 Feb 16 - 18:22
Paul ColeFit after 50

Borrowing and modifying a term from our forefathers: “We hold these truths to be self-evident …” that no man wants to injure himself during exercise.

If you disagree with this idea and you enjoy injuring yourself, you may want to call on a licensed mental health counselor and confront your deep-seated feelings of guilt, but that’s not my area of expertise.

When you are exercising, there is always the chance of injury. There is also a chance of injury when you drive a car, fly on a plane, ride a bike, barbecue, get a haircut and sneeze, but that doesn’t stop us from doing those things, because the chances of injury far outweigh the benefits of convenience or the rewards associated with the activity.

There are about 3 million car-related injuries a year, 2 million permanent injuries and 40,000 deaths in the U.S. each year. The Department of Transportation's statistics indicate that accidents are generally related to irresponsible driving behavior (www.car-accidents.net).According to 2002 statistics presented by the National Safety Council, you have a 1 in 440,951 chance of dying in an air and space transport accident.

In 1999, there were 900 bicyclists killed and 70,000 disabling injuries suffered by cyclists on American roads.It is clear, according to the NSC, that taking precautions in traffic and wearing protective equipment are a cyclist's best shields against unintentional injuries.Also, the statistic specified “roads” and not safe trails specifically made for bikers and pedestrians.

There were no numbers for that category.Let’s take a look at some other statistics compiled by the NSC in 2002:Your odds of dying from a controlled fire, in any given year, not in a building or structure (barbecue grill?) are 1 in 9,598,041.Your chances of dying by lightning strike are 1 in 4,362,746.
Your chances of dying by coming into contact with venomous snakes and lizards are 1 in 95,980,407.

During my research, I didn’t find any fitness center-related deaths or any numbers on injury worthy of statistical mention, but I did find this from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Results from the 1999-2002 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, using measured heights and weights, indicate that an estimated 65 percent of U.S. adults are either overweight or obese.

This represents a prevalence that is 16 percent higher than the age-adjusted overweight estimates obtained from NHANES III (1988-94).Overweight and obese individuals are at increased risk for many diseases and health conditions, including the following hypertension, dyslipidemia (for example, high total cholesterol or high levels of triglycerides), Type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea and respiratory problems, some cancers (endometrial, breast, and colon) (www.cdc.gov).

The overwhelming recommendations to combat these diseases involved moderate exercise most days of the week combined with a modified diet using sensible portion sizes and Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which can be found at www.healthierus.gov.

As far as exercise-related injuries are concerned, to reduce the chances of injury, follow the advice of a certified personal trainer and always warm up before exercise, follow the safety guidelines put forth by your instructor, cool down by stretching moderately, and come back tomorrow for another life-saving, quality of life-extending, injury-free exercise session.

Remember, experts say that regular moderate exercise helps rather than hurts most people as they move up in years.Paul Cole is a certified fitness instructor and owner of Fit After 50 in Indialantic. Contact him at (321) 777-3534 or at pncole@msn.com.

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