Consequences Of Body Aging
The organism eventually undergoes a series of transformations that can be summarized in two basic consequences.
The elderly person is therefore less able to react and compensate for changes in the environment: the heart cannot beat with enough pulsation or send an adequate volume of blood with each beat, kidney and liver filter less toxic substances, lungs are not filled Properly breathing air …
On the one hand, tissues lose a significant percentage of water in their composition, which is replaced by scar fibers and deposits of various substances, becoming more rigid and less useful. The bones then become more brittle, the tendons break more easily, the muscles develop less power, the joints deform and lose mobility, etc.
The other consequence is the decrease in homeostatic capacity. The concept of homeostasis is fundamental to understanding the functioning of all living things and refers to the body’s ability to “compensate” or “stay the same” even if the external environment changes. An example: the internal temperature of the human being is approximately 37º C. If the outside environment is cooler the body compensates it by shivering, that is to say by involuntary muscular contractions that heat it. On the contrary, if it is too hot we will sweat, because the evaporation of the sweat in the skin causes a cooling.
Should an elderly person play sports?
The saying “The function creates the organ” is still totally valid for the elderly. Decreased ability and tissue degeneration does not stop but it is slowed down with the right sport and practiced in a measured way.
Should a screening be done prior to the start of a sports activity?
The GP plays a key role. It is very important to know the real state of health to face the limitations discussed above, which vary in each person and that depend on two factors: the diseases that suffer or have suffered and the previous practice of a sport.
The elderly person usually presents a series of diseases, which often is unknown because they do not give symptoms or are apparently irrelevant. Among them is hypertension, which can severely damage the heart, kidneys and brain, leading to death. All this is avoidable by going to the health center regularly to take the tension and, if it rises, by following the diet or medication prescribed by your doctor.
It is advisable to know the state of the heart and lungs by routine auscultation and in cases that you deem appropriate by performing an electrocardiogram and a chest x-ray.
The general examination of muscle tone and the mobility and resistance of the joints serves to evaluate the general physical state.
Finally, a blood test will indicate the kidney’s ability to filter the toxins; Blood sugar levels (many diabetes are discovered on a routine basis) and blood cell composition, on which resistance to infection depends, wound coagulation, and oxygenation-to give vitality-to The tissues of the body.
Exercises to avoid
When there are advanced diseases of the internal organs the sport in general is contraindicated, since the risk of a decompensation is high: myocardial infarction, acute respiratory or renal insufficiency, embolias or cerebral hemorrhages. Specific physiotherapeutic exercises may be useful depending on the cases under the strict supervision of the health professional.
If the disease is usually articular, it is an osteoarthritis (joint wear) that usually affects the hip and knee, and all sports that require irregular terrain (for example, trekking), impacts (braking and Are produced in football, tennis) and sudden movements (watch out for golf because of the rapid rotation of the knee, hip and shoulder that occurs when the ball is thrown) as there is a greater friction of the articular cartilage. They will also be avoided if the patient is a carrier of joint prosthesis because it can loosen from its anchorage to the bone.
In general, extreme sports such as football or tennis (and even less paddle) are not advised because of the high risk of cardiac, respiratory and cerebral hemorrhage.
Sports that can be practiced
The sport that is excellence in the third age is the swimming, or in his case the soft exercises in water. The movements are then harmonic, without impacts; The push of the water decreases the weight of the body discharging the joints, the usual air conditioning of the modern swimming pools allows a pleasant temperature and tolerable by the greater.
The lungs increase the capacity to fill air and the heart is toned. Muscle work strengthens veins and prevents thrombosis.
If the doctor allows cycling the usual recommendation is to cross flat roads and with an intermediate development, which avoids overloading excess kneecaps and lumbar.
Likewise, jogging should be practiced on flat, elastic (grass) terrain or, failing that, using viscoelastic insoles or air-chamber shoes, which absorb the impacts of the stride.
General recommendations for the greatest sportsman
In general, before and after practicing any sports session, muscle stretching should be performed to warm joints and muscles, flex the tendons and prepare the heart and lungs for the energy expenditure of muscle contractions.
Usually the general practitioner can provide the patient with tables with these exercises, which will be done smoothly and progressively, avoiding sudden movements and forced postures: there will be tension in the stretched muscle and tendon, but no pain should be felt. Hypertensive people should avoid drinking too much water because they overload the kidney and heart.
Diabetics who inject insulin should be equally careful, because the expenditure of excessive energy will burn a lot of sugar and a coma may occur due to hypoglycemia.
If dizziness, severe headache, chest pain or choking occurs, you should go to an emergency room.