Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Longevity for Lady Liberty

This weekend I took my family to see a New York Liberty game. In addition to be a very exciting game, I got to see my cousin Katie Smith play. It has been along time since I have seen her play. She has played professional basketball since graduating college 17 years ago. She has just celebrated her 39th birthday 2 weeks ago and has not lost a step. She was amazing. She has always been a very dedicated player with magnificent work ethic. I believe her attention to her training has allowed her to be able to maintain her high level of play over the years. So what are the concerns in an aging athlete? What can you do to prevent injury? Here are some tips.

First, the warm up. Warming up is stretching the muscles and ligaments. In an older athlete this may take longer and is essential to prevent injuries. Also, as we age our vascular system responds slower to exercise so we need a longer warm up period slowly increasing the exercises intensity.

Secondly we lose flexibility as we age. Loss of flexibility is a natural effect of aging that can be counteracted through a program of daily stretching. The repetitive movements involved in practicing any sport for a long period of time results in muscular imbalances that get progressively more extreme.

Next, it is much more important as we age to increase stregth training. As we age we lose muscle mass.  Most of the muscle mass lost due to the aging process is classified as type II, or ‘fast twitch' muscle fibers. These type II fibers are faster to contract and therefore give us our strength and power. In contrast Type I, or ‘slow twitch' muscle fibers are slow to contract and contribute to muscular endurance. The loss of overall muscle mass and muscle strength causes joints to bear greater stress during exercise, rather that dissipating it to surrounding muscle tissue. This extra stress to the joints commonly leads to athletic injuries such as tendonitis, ligament sprains, musculo-tendinous strains, as well as arthritis.

Lastly, take more time to recover.  Older athletes need to allow themselves more time to recover between their most demanding training sessions.

Changing the way you train can increase the longetivity of your activities.
GOOD LUCK #30! Go New York Liberty!

Dr. Alexandra "Sandie" Grulke


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Sunblock On Your Feet?

It is time for summer and you are slathering on the sunblock. Don't forget to put sunblock on your feet. That sounds funny, but melanoma can be found on the skin on your feet. Unfortunately, the survival rates of foot melanoma is low because it can often go undetected. What you should you be on the look out for?

The common characteristics of melanoma are as simple as A B C D 
Asymmetry meaning the shape of the lesions is not symmetrical, for example if you folded the lesion in half the halves would not line up.  Borders or the outline of the lesions is not smooth or circular but scalloped or ragged. The malignant lesion maybe several Colors or variegated.  Benign lesions tend to have just one color throughout the entire lesion. The last common characteristic of melanomas is the Diameter or size of the lesion. A diameter of about 6mm or greater, the size of a pencil eraser, has a greater chance of becoming malignant.

The most common age to develop a melanoma is in your 50's. Foot melanoma can affect men and women equally. Fair skinned with blue eyes have a higher chance of developing melanoma over other skin and eye types.  The most common areas of your feet to develop melanoma is on the soles of  your feet, between toes or under toenails.

If you notice a mole, bump, or patch on the skin  it is important to get it checked out right away.
With 40,000 new cases discovered every year,  regular inspections of your feet can catch this deadly cancer early. As a preventative measure, apply sunscreen to your feet not just the tops, but also between the toes and on the bottom of your feet as well.
Here's to a happy and healthy sunmmer

Dr. Alexandra "Sandie" Grulke