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  1. #1
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    Default protecting my knees

    I am an 13 year gymnast and 2nd degree blackbelt. I do a lot of high impact landings, twirling through the air etc. I usually land on mats, however.

    It baffles me how my knees have managed to survive this far. In my years of experience I have watched countless people (usually women) have problems with their ankles and knees, and have to drop out of what they were practicing.

    When I get hurt, I stop doing all physical activity until it no longer hurts. Perhaps this is the difference between me and most people? I have people telling me to quit being a pussy and keep doing it through the pain and I essentially flip them the bird.

    I live a very very active lifestyle. I climb mountains, I hike, whitewater rafting, dancing at clubs, etc. So its scary to think that I may someday become old and my joints stop working to a point where I can no longer do the things I once loved doing.

    Does anyone have any tips on how to protect my joints? I would like to continue my active lifestyle well into my 90's, and living a long life is on my to do list.

  2. #2
    Mud and rain and chaos... TickTock's Avatar
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    Yes. Doing Alexander Technique, or and other exercises such as yoga, and general limber exercises. People who have done AT all their life have a lot of physical youth and flexibility in old age.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TickTock View Post
    Yes. Doing Alexander Technique, or and other exercises such as yoga, and general limber exercises. People who have done AT all their life have a lot of physical youth and flexibility in old age.
    Links, please? (You recommended it, so presumably you know which links/sources are most reliable...)
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    Mud and rain and chaos... TickTock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grey_beard View Post
    Links, please? (You recommended it, so presumably you know which links/sources are most reliable...)
    Look for classes in your area. I'd recommend a few sessions before you did it on your own.
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  5. #5
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    Anybody heard of any of the bluegrass pads?
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Azure Flame View Post
    I am an 13 year gymnast and 2nd degree blackbelt. I do a lot of high impact landings, twirling through the air etc. I usually land on mats, however.

    It baffles me how my knees have managed to survive this far. In my years of experience I have watched countless people (usually women) have problems with their ankles and knees, and have to drop out of what they were practicing.

    When I get hurt, I stop doing all physical activity until it no longer hurts. Perhaps this is the difference between me and most people? I have people telling me to quit being a pussy and keep doing it through the pain and I essentially flip them the bird.

    I live a very very active lifestyle. I climb mountains, I hike, whitewater rafting, dancing at clubs, etc. So its scary to think that I may someday become old and my joints stop working to a point where I can no longer do the things I once loved doing.

    Does anyone have any tips on how to protect my joints? I would like to continue my active lifestyle well into my 90's, and living a long life is on my to do list.
    (tl;dr version: Start at the second-to-last paragraph.)

    You didn't say how old you are.

    See this old post for generalities about aging and joints: http://www.typologycentral.com/forum...=1#post2126644

    Anyway, I've been running from age 18 to age 57, and I still do 6 miles every other day. Running is considered pretty high-impact when done a lot. Most all the other long-time runners that I know have had to quit running entirely or confine themselves to short jogs by my age. Running really does tend to tear up the joints as you get older, and it takes a lot of work to keep running into old age. Running isn't the same as what you do, of course, but I've definitely been fighting the aging process with my running. So I figured I would write up a post and maybe you can find some ideas in there that you can use with your activities.

    When I was in my 20s and 30s I used to run every day, alternating a short run and a long run: 3 miles one day and anywhere from 6 to 12 miles on the second day. But I had a big frame (average 250 lbs), and that added up to a lot of running as I aged. In my 40s, my doctor warned me that my knees couldn't take that kind of constant beating forever, and he was right: Around that time my knees starting getting loose and achey and making crackling sounds when I walked up stairs.

    Basically, the rule seems to be that after your late 20s you tend to need additional recuperation time to recover from normal wear and tear after a hard workout, so you need at least a day of downtime between hard workouts. And it's good to do some cross-training on the day of down-time to firm up the auxiliary muscles/ligaments/tendons that support the main workout but tend to be weaker.

    So, across the years I geared back and now I alternate between running one day (6 miles) and then calisthenics/weights the second day. Currently I only run on soft surfaces (only dirt trail or treadmill; no concrete or asphalt), and on my calisthenics days I do a lot of leg work: low-weight/high-rep squats, mountain climbers, various stretches, etc. I've also been shedding some weight to lighten the load that I'm carrying. I used to like bulking up when I was younger, but now I'm after a lighter, leaner look that's more in line with my body's capabilities.

    I also pay a lot more attention to form. I used to run leaning somewhat forward, but I was battling some occasional knee pain as I got older. I had been told occasionally in the past that I should run with a more upright gait; I finally tried that, and the knee pain went away. So I incorporated the new gait as a constant thing just in the last couple years. I think that this one change alone will probably extend my running for another 10 years at least.

    Anyway, all that seems to have helped. My knees are currently tight and in good shape, and I can still do a pretty fast 6-mile run every other day. I haven't done any research on running and seniors; I just do what works for me.

    But that's what I would advise when it comes to high-impact stuff as you get older: Switch up your activities to allow more recuperation from normal wear and tear after a hard workout; do additional cross-training to strengthen up and stretch your knees in ways that aren't covered by the main workout; use soft surfaces; research and experiment with good form while doing the workout itself--that can really go a long way toward extending the life of your joints; and consider lightening your frame if you're bulked up.

    Actually it sounds like you're already doing most of these things: You said that you're doing lots of varied activities instead of one repetitious routine, and you said that you use mats and allow lots of recuperation time for injuries. But anyway I thought I would lay out my own experience, and you can pick through my suggestions yourself and see if there's anything there worth borrowing.

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