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I’m learning that my body isn’t quite the same as it used to be. As I get older my knees and ankles crack in the morning. A couple years ago there were no cracks or pops, and now they are as loud as ever. A physiotherapist recently told me that it is a combination of inflammation and arthritis due to overuse. Arthritis for a 28-year-old? I was surprised to hear that. I remember as a teenager, I was advised by basketball players I looked up to take care of my body. They would say things like “You only have so many jumps in those knees”. That really got my attention! Now, as a 28-year-old professional athlete, I can tell you, they were right. I couldn’t say that a couple years ago, but eventually, it just happens. Everyone’s body is getting more wear and tear every day. You can eat healthy, exercise and get enough sleep, but the pops and cracks still creep up on you. I’m not saying that to discourage you from taking preventative measures. I’m reminding you about the reality of this real biological process called age, because it is inevitable and it will happen. I want you to start fighting it before the cracks and pops keep you from moving as well as you can. I definitely need to save as many jumps or sprints as I can, for my career now and for the rest of my life.
Soreness, less energy, and inflammation are issues we deal with over time. Certain daily habits can delay the effects that time will have on your body. Slowing down is going to happen, but it does not have to happen soon. Take these measures to keep your body feeling good today and every day!
What will keep you feeling young?
1. Don’t stay up late! – Sleep is the number one remedy for recovery. Get your 8 hours!
2. Limit pain causing foods - Limit sugar, fried foods, processed meat, refined grains, alcohol, trans fats, fast foods. These foods are highly inflammatory.
3. Eat more of these foods - Green vegetables and berries are two anti-inflammatory foods most of us have access to that can decrease inflammation in the body.
4. Warm up, stretch and massage - Prevent injury by warming up the body, stretching to increase range of motion, and using a foam roller to keep the muscles working properly. Spend $20 on a foam roller, lacrosse ball for your feet and a softball for bigger muscle groups, and start working those muscles.
5. Core strength, mobility, and flexibility > weights - Unless you are a bodybuilder or participate in a sport that requires quite a bit of strength. How well we move and can transfer our force and energy becomes much more important than simply how much weight we can move. No matter how strong we are, without a strong core holding it all together, flexibility and mobility, we are at risk for lots of issues we do not want. Yoga, Pilates, and swimming are great low impact activities with tremendous benefits for aging athletes.
Charles Abouo is a professional basketball player in France and is a former BYU student-athlete. He is a certified personal trainer, and developed a passion for health and wellness while majoring in exercise and wellness at BYU. The 2012 BYU graduate played basketball at BYU from 2008-12. He currently plays for ASC Denain Voltaire in France. His hobbies include traveling, reading, writing, anything food, learning new cultures, and spending time with his friends and family.