Age or just out of shape?

Posted by: wandering_daisy

Age or just out of shape? - 08/27/12 12:40 PM

I am getting older and was a bit concerned regarding my long trip this summer (40 days, about 240 miles, most off trail). At least for me, it turned out that aches and pains were primarily a function of being out of shape, not age. First week was a killer. Two-advil nights! Feet hurt; first one knee then the other hurt; strained right ankle; limping then strained left ankle. Back hurt, shoulders hurt, cracked skin from using trekking poles. Muscle cramps. Then, after 2 weeks my body just started healing itself. It is amazing how much more agile you get living off the ground for 40 days. For the last half of the trip, I hardly took a pain killer, nothing hurt, and was in the swing of hopping rocks like a dancer. My very small sleeping pad was comfortable. Never got a blister. Never felt better. I did loose 10 pounds which I really cannot afford to lose. But my 93-year old Mom did her best to fatten me up the last few days. Mom finally agreed to get a walker - she is now doing a mile a day outdoors- fastest person in a walker at her retirement home. So, do not blame "age" for all ills. No matter what your age- just keep on moving!
Posted by: billstephenson

Re: Age or just out of shape? - 08/27/12 12:58 PM

What an inspiring message!

My experiences with aches and pains and exercise is the same. I try to walk a couple miles a day at least 3-4 times a week for a couple weeks before I take off for even a short trip and it's amazing to me how fast my legs, lungs, and overall stamina improve.

My granny, like your mom, was a lifetime walker. She didn't stop until she was about 90, and then only because the nursing home she was in wouldn't let off the grounds.

I've been sitting on my ass coding all Summer this year and I'm really going to need to knock the rust off this season. T-minus 60 days and counting!
Posted by: oldranger

Re: Age or just out of shape? - 08/27/12 04:58 PM

Young lady, I think you are absolutely correct. The daily bicycle ride has been my salvation lately.
Posted by: Glenn Roberts

Re: Age or just out of shape? - 08/27/12 09:59 PM

Great post! Haven't been as active as you, but I find the same thing: working past the aches and pains really seems to help.
Posted by: aimless

Re: Age or just out of shape? - 08/27/12 10:58 PM

I agree with the 'keep moving' advice, but I also find that it takes longer than ever for the conditioning to kick in and for me to get over that hump from being kind of in shape to being in good shape.
Posted by: BrianLe

Re: Age or just out of shape? - 08/28/12 01:40 PM

I must spend too much time on facebook lately, as I'm wishing I had a "like" button to click for this post.
Posted by: Abnrml1

Re: Age or just out of shape? - 08/28/12 05:48 PM

Thanks for this post. I have been going back and forth on getting started. I feel that most of my aches and pains will diminish if I just get off my butt and start but my wife feels different. I'm only 51 and I am tired of not living. Thanks again.
Posted by: hikerduane

Re: Age or just out of shape? - 08/29/12 09:26 PM

Great summer Nancy. Not much off trail for me. It seems every year it is harder to get a day of bping in. Then I check my watch and I'm still doing good. Must be pushing myself too much. I need to get with some young 30 somethings to get me to slow down and take more breaks. At least this year I did not have to stop and soak my feet in the lake or creek to stop blisters.
Duane
Posted by: OregonMouse

Re: Age or just out of shape? - 09/01/12 12:36 AM

I'm really far behind after spending a good part of the spring and summer unable to hike due to plantar fasciitis. I seem to be over it now but am working up very gradually to avoid re-injury. Both I and my dog (almost the same age when you consider that 1 dog year = 7 human years) are really out of shape! We have finally worked up to one mile.... At least my achilles tendons are very flexible thanks to all the stretching I've been doing for the plantar fasciitis!
Posted by: billstephenson

Re: Age or just out of shape? - 09/01/12 12:40 PM

Glad to hear you're on the downhill side of that issue. If it's what I think it is, I've heard it can be pretty vicious, especially first thing in the morning.

One of my neighbors has to wear arch support inserts in his shoes. He said they were like walking on golf balls when he first got them, is this what you've been doing too?
Posted by: OregonMouse

Re: Age or just out of shape? - 09/01/12 01:49 PM

Yes, I turned down the $800 prescription orthotics offered by a podiatrist (by the time I was able to get a GP appointment and a podiatrist referral I was so much better that I almost cancelled the appointment!) because I was doing fine with a combination of blue Superfeet and some heel inserts recommended by my eldest son (who got it in both feet while serving as a military attache in our embassy in Tajikistan). I also have green Superfeet but those are too thick in combination with the heel inserts (the combo raises my heel too high in the shoe). I hope that in a few more months I can use just the green Superfeet without the heel inserts. They do have the arch support just in front of the heel that I need, just not quite as much as the heel inserts.

I've been using a night splint, which reduces or eliminates morning heel pain by keeping the plantar fascia slightly stretched during the night. I never realized until this started that when we relax our muscles, our feet go into a semi-pointed toe position. This is why folks on the borderline between two sleeping bag sizes should go for the longer size unless they always sleep curled up in the fetal position--the pointing toes add an inch or two to your height when you're stretched out full length.

The most important part of the treatment has been lots of icing, lots of stretching and rest. These are the ones I've been doing. They really have helped! As mentioned, it took so long to get to see a podiatrist that these measures (all approved after the fact by the podiatrist) had already done most of the job.

I still have a few episodes of heel pain, but when I'm sitting rather than during or after walking. It's a warning that I need to keep on stretching!

I also bought a pair of New Balance motion control shoes (W1012) which, along with the Superfeet, really help with my pronation problems, which supposedly were a big part of the cause along with insufficient stretching before and after exercise. It's important to replace shoes frequently because the shock absorbing materials deteriorate, even if the shoe is not yet worn out. The New Balance SL-2 last fits me perfectly, providing the high and wide toe box, high arch and extra narrow heel that my weird feet require. It's too bad that their insoles are so flimsy; they used to have a much more supportive insole. I ditched their insoles and replaced them with the Superfeet. Unfortunately, NB does not use the SL-2 last for any of their trail runners. However, they are now using a more corrugated sole for their regular running shoes, so I hope I'll be able to use the 1012's for hiking. I'll find out in a couple of weeks! I'm still walking laps in the park on the grass, probably being over-cautious.
Posted by: skcreidc

Re: Age or just out of shape? - 09/04/12 11:53 AM

In this type of case, OM, you will only find out if you have not been patient enough (and the problem persists). Being overly cautious sounds smart to me.
Posted by: bobito9

Re: Age or just out of shape? - 09/10/12 02:00 PM

Nice post! Thanks for sharing. I'm with with BrianLe: I searched around for my "like" button, too smile
I found it interesting that your aches started diminishing as the days went by. That isn't generally my experience, except that as my food gets eaten and my weight goes down, and I adjust to altitude, my body starts appreciating the fact. However, it's also the case that my trips are not for as many days as yours. I just did a 7 day and an 8 day, almost in succesion, but that is a rarity for me. But I do notice that a sense of lightness and balance and mental clarity develops over the course of a trip: maybe from using my mental and motor skills hopping talus and tree roots, or maybe just from the relaxation that comes from being in the wilderness.In any event, it relieves a lot of the feeling of difficulty that I start out with.
Posted by: ndwoods

Re: Age or just out of shape? - 10/13/12 11:42 PM

Yep. Nice post. I always wondered....the aches and tightnesses are with me and tho I ride horses everyday and do barn chores, I just have the devil of a time getting real cardio and stretches in daily and I have felt that was the prob....your post makes me want to really try harder to get the exercise in!
Posted by: billyjaxin

Re: Age or just out of shape? - 10/21/14 03:22 AM

240 miles of mostly off-trail sounds like you're doing pretty well! I agree that condition is more important than age. The kicker is that getting in shape takes more time and care as we get older. Especially with regard to joints. The combination of shortened range of movement and loss of elasticity leads to unexpected pulls. And it takes a long time to stretch out the offending tendons without re-injuring yourself.

One piece of inexpert advice I can offer: wind and strength improve quickly; connective tissue improves very slowly. Older people need to be patient while the joints and supporting tissues grow strong enough for the added load.
I think a good trainer is essential. Someone who specializes in older clients.
Posted by: Hillbilly

Re: Age or just out of shape? - 11/04/14 12:32 PM

Y'all are inspiring! I'm 53 and 70 lbs overweight. I've spent way too much time waiting for a way to get back into bping, I did it as a kid and a younger man. I just ordered a pair of hiking shoes the other day, and plan to walk about 8 miles a day. I've done it once the other day and destroyed the insoles of a brand new pair of "athletic" shoes, hence the hikers. I do Physical therapy now for repair of a torn rotator. The PT is 4 miles from the house, so I'll walk there, do therapy then walk back.
I thought the wife would BP with me, but after 12 years, I know that's not going to happen. Like Abnrml1 I've waited too long to start living life. We need a thank you button on here.
Rick
Posted by: JPete

Re: Age or just out of shape? - 11/10/14 05:26 PM

What an inspiring thread! Loved it, needed it. I'm another one in Grumpy Gord's age group, and I suspect I may be the cancer survivor mentioned by billstephenson in another thread. I've been at the daily walk (mile or two), trainor three times a week and some physical therapy and home exercises as well routine for about six months. I've been hiking with a slightly overweighted pack and on some rough trail for a mile or two late this summer. Did about three and a half in about an hour and a half the other day (but I confess it was mostly much easier trail). But it is coming. It just takes longer at this age, but don't give up just because it's a little rough when you start. WD is absolutely right about the healing that comes, and I'm looking forward to more if this remission holds. I'm back in Virginia now, so should have good weather for it. best, jcp