Injuries are part of sports and exercise. Dr. Stephen Petteruti explains how to make them a positive thing.
I’m a firm believer in anti-aging medicine. Not as a pill, or hormone, but as a way of living. A pursuit. The brave fight against the ticking clock. Marching all of our forces to fight the foe on every front.
So it was in that spirit that I joined a coed adult soccer league. Nevermind that I’d never played an organized soccer game in my life. Nevermind that my arthritic knee limits me to a 40 yard dash speed better timed with a calendar then a stopwatch, I was confident that with the proper mix of good teammates and ambition (along with placing us in the lowest possible league) would lead to a respectable and joyful outcome. Besides, my wife, Shannon is a stud athlete and I happen to enjoy watching her run around in soccer shorts 🙂
Game one I cleverly took the goalie position thinking this would insulate me from the task of having to run too much. Things were going along uneventfully until I attempted to add a little extra punch to one of my goal kicks. An instant after striking the ball, a searing pain ran down my inner thigh. I flew in the air like Charlie Brown kicking the football. Landing awkwardly on my back while writhing in pain.
A just reward for a 54 year old trying to play our young man’s game you may think.
But who says only young people have permission to injure themselves while pursuing athletic ambitions? Our aging bias is revealed when the comment to an older athlete is “time to hang it up” where as a younger athlete with the same injury would be encouraged to pursue vigorous rehab and get back at it.
As my father always said, “if you want to play the game, you’ll wear the bruises.” There is no alternative for some of us other than to live life fully. Retreat is a prelude to surrender. If we do nothing, we avoid physical injury but we will not from the inside with obesity, cardiovascular disease and a depressed sedentary existence.
I began my rehab.
I’m happy to report that I am back playing again, recovering nicely from my torn groin muscle.
Our team has yet to win any game. In fact our average margin of defeat hovers around 10 goals, but we run hard, play hard, and celebrate each game as a triumph.
Together, we can lift one another’s spirits and encourage our more bold nature to pursue life in all its glory and uncertainty.
Fear not the consequence of action and exploration, fear the slow conformist march into a passive and sedentary lifestyle that promises us no torn groin muscles, but no opportunity for the thrill of living.
So I will use my injury as a call to action. Rather then retreat, I will repair my body and prepare it more thoroughly for what comes next. Perhaps another injury awaits me. But maybe, just maybe, our team will find a way to win a soccer game. Either way the pursuit will fill me up.
It is the thrill to find out what lies around the next corner that is so much a part of the anti-aging movement. Whether that is an athletic challenge, the hope of watching your great-grandchildren grow up or another season in the garden, we all have our youthful pursuits.
Anti-aging medicine lets you do more of what you love to do for a longer time, even if that comes with an occasional groin strain.