Pride has the potential to destroy us all, at least from an orthopedic point of view.
In our teens and twenties, we are invincible. Many of us can recall being able to perform in a basketball game or run in a track meet the morning after a night of drinking beers and eating McDonalds at 2AM. A few hours of sleep? No problem. I even recall a few high school friends who donated blood or smoked cigarettes before athletic competitions.
In our youth, muscles and tendons strengthen quickly, bones are pliable yet strong, and recovery from intense exercise is easy. Most young people are not in the least bit worried about overuse injuries and punishing physical activities. Why should they be? Their bodies respond quite well to stress.
In our thirties, small changes in physiology can be seen. Recovery times lengthen. It takes two days for the soreness in the muscles from a gym workout to go away rather than one day. Hangovers are worse. Chronic aches and pains are more likely to occur from repetitive activities or working out too intensely.
Pride starts to become an issue for us when we reach our thirties. Not being able to physically perform the way we did in our teens and twenties is a tough pill to swallow. Many of us try to push to the measureable levels of our youth in terms of running distances, weight lifting maximums, and other personal bests. Sometimes we can match our records; more times than not, however, the result is injury.
Those of us in our forties and beyond have a massive dose of reality to deal with. From a physiological vantage point, muscle fibers develop flaws, tendons become less vascularized and thus more brittle, and metabolism slows. Working out with the intensity and frequency that we did in our twenties is simply a bad idea. Injuries would abound. Many patients that find their way to the orthopedist or physical therapist do so ultimately because they cannot accept this reality.
Here is a free piece of advice that will save you thousands of dollars over your lifetime. Step back every few years and try to take an objective look at what you are doing in terms of your workout routine. Pay particular attention to your age and how your present workout compares to your workouts of the past. Listen to your body and adjust your goals based on your age. Seek the advice of a seasoned professional if you need to. Swallow your pride.
I am in no way advocating that you stop exercising. Long-term exercise is a vital portion of healthy living and longevity. Realize, however, that we all change as we age, and the airplane that is your body should have a soft landing into old age rather than a crash landing.