It’s new years resolution time and as we get older, we all want to stay active and keep doing what we love. However, there’s one little problem for many of us – persistent injuries and wear and tear often get in the way. You may have big plans for your new years resolution to get back in shape or to be able to accomplish that event you’ve never tried, but if that bad knee, shoulder, ankle, or back gets in the way, your new year’s plans can turn into a pipe dream pretty quickly. So how can you stack the odds in your favor to achieve those goals? Follow this five step plan!
- Avoid surgery wherever possible! We’ve all been conditioned to believe that surgery for things like a meniscus tear, arthritis, a torn rotator cuff, a bulging disc, or loose ankle ligaments is just a rite of passage as we age. In fact, the hard core medical research of the last decade has shown that many of these procedures are ineffective and some leave patients more disabled in the long run. In addition, a new field of Interventional Orthopedics has emerged to replace the need for many of these procedures. This uses ultra-precise imaging guided injections of your own blood platelets or stem cells to help heal or manage these issues without the need for surgery. The recovery is also much quicker with less downtime and rehab. All of this is detailed in our book, Orthopedics 2.0.
- Control inflammation smartly! Most of us pop NSAID drugs like Motrin, Advil, Aleve, Celebrex, Mobic and others as we age in order to get in that hike or run or to get a few more reps in the gym. However, these drugs inhibit the healing that you need to stay active and dramatically increase your risk of a sudden death fatal heart attack. Surprised by that last statement? Most people don’t know that the American Heart Association has been warning people to avoid NSAID drugs whenever possible. What can you take to keep moving that won’t hurt you? Many natural supplements have been shown to be excellent anti-inflammatories and pain relievers in their own right:
- Curcumin is a great replacement for NSAID drugs. 750mg with Bioperine 2-3 times twice a day has been shown to be the rough equivalent of Motrin/Advil/Ibuprofen in one well done study.
- High dose Fish Oil has been shown to be able to manage pain as well as NSAID drugs in another study. This is not the kind of fish oil you buy at Costco or the local grocery store, it’s highly concentrated stuff. Take 2-4 pills twice a day.
- A good multi-anti-inflammatory supplement that has ingredients shown to promote joint cartilage maintenance in clinical studies and in the lab may pack a bigger punch for those struggling to get off NSAID drugs.
- Clean up your diet! In order to control inflammation in your whole body, you also need to get off the sugar and high carbs that fuel the average American. This means focusing on higher protein meals, more vegetables, and low sugar fruits. Dr. John Pitts has done an excellent job of giving you a complete whole body and spirit diet in his book, Nutrition 2.0, a must read for your new year’s resolution!
- Get ahead of the big musculoskeletal catastrophes! We all have aches and pains in one area or another and like kids waiting for Santa Claus to come down the chimney, we all just believe they will go away. After caring for people with these issues for more than two decades, they usually don’t. In fact, at some point they usually explode into a big issue that’s harder to cure or care for than if they had been dealt with while they were small problems. Don’t be that person who gets surprised by that bad back, neck, shoulder, knee, hip, or ankle suddenly turning into a huge hard to fix, mega-problem. Read our ProActive book to figure out what you need to pay attention to and what you can ignore.
- Big changes don’t happen over night, so ease back into getting more active by listening to your body. Realize that losing 20 pounds the right way may take 3-6 months. Training for that marathon when you’re already running 5-10 miles a day may only take a few months, but training for a 5K when you’ve never run may take 6 months! The mistake I see people make is trying to fast forward their plan. As an example, if you’ve barely worked out, jumping into a high level cross fit program will likely end with you getting quickly injured. On the other hand, if you take it more slowly and listen to that knee complaining and use the above plan to figure that out, you’ll be able to get to higher level cross fit and into that new bathing suit this summer rather than getting surgery and being depressed by spring!
The upshot? Use the new year to plan for a new you, but follow the five steps above to help you accomplish that goal. We all want to be that elderly person who ages ever so gracefully and at 70 or 80 is still working out like they’re 40. However, many of us never get there because we make critical mistakes along the way! Avoid those landmines for the new year!