Exercise and pain as you age
David Starbuck Smith is an exercise therapist, former tennis pro, and the author of Ageless, Painless Tennis. He has over 20 years of experience in injury prevention and pain management for better athletic performance. David works with older adults on sport and activity-specific exercises, with a specialization in tennis. In his talk at the 2023 Be Bold Healthy Aging Summit, he discusses the connection between aging and pain.
According to David, here are 4 common myths of aging and pain:
As we age, we’re supposed to become weaker and be in pain.
- David explains that although some aspects of our body become slower as we age, like our metabolism, this does not necessarily lead to weakness or more pain.
It’s always important that we rest and take it easy.
- David discusses that sometimes, activity can help ease pain. Make sure to talk with your doctor about which activities are safe to participate in if you're in pain.
Pain is due to our genetics.
- David says that we should not give genetics “the power and take the responsibility out of our hands, because if we do, it starts to cascade and will lead to more limitations.”
Pain is just due to our activity or sport.
- When addressing sports and activity, David asked the audience “how long have you been doing that activity? So why is the pain happening now?” He explains that “it is your body going into the activity, not the activity itself that gets you into pain.”
What’s really behind your pain? According to David, here's what could be causing your pain:
- Muscle imbalance and misalignment: Pain happens through habits, injuries, and a lifetime of activity.
- Beliefs: What we believe plays a big role in pain. If we believe we should be in pain based on history or what we have been told, we are more likely to experience pain
- Blocked or suppressed emotions: Trauma and issues can play a role in where we think our pain should be.
- Imagination or expectation: Predicting what we should feel or look like based on genetics, age, or capabilities plays a role in how you experience pain.
So, what can I do about my pain?
Talk to your doctor about your options, and see if exercise is a good way to address pain for you. Bold’s pain program could be a great fit. Interested in joining? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 833-701-1545 (toll-free).
To hear all of David Starbuck Smith’s talk at the Bold Summit, visit the Bold Explore page.