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Boot Camp and other similar exercise programs are keeping my lights on. Of course there are things which are totally out of our control, like tornados and earthquakes. Natural disasters wreak havoc on delicate humans. And sadly, there are those of us who suffer from diseases and genetic disorders like arthritis.

Many of us suffer from things we bring upon ourselves: sports, high-heeled shoes, skateboarding and skiing injuries. And last but not least, the countless exercise programs in which women, in particular, are encouraged to participate, such as Insanity, Orange Theory, kettle bells, boot camp, P90X, Zumba, Barre classes and yes, even yoga.

Now I’m not saying everyone who participates in these programs is going to be injured, but many have been, and many more will be. It can be an acute injury or a repetitive strain injury, happening over a long period of time.

The problem is that in some cases, the client’s liabilities are poorly understood or not considered at all. For example, women, in general, are susceptible to having kneecap problems which can be precipitated by performing squats. Early recognition of a problem might forestall the need for medical treatment, but clients are often afraid to admit to having pain, so they suffer. Some of my patients tell me they are chastised for not gutting it out.

Many programs involve rapid positional transitions. Clients feel the need to keep up and often suffer repetitive strain disorders.

So if you decide to participate in these programs, beware of the potential for injury. Listen to your body. Don’t exercise through pain, other than a little muscle soreness. Instructors, pay attention to clients who complain of pain or appear to be in pain. Encourage rest or modification of the exercises, and even discontinuation of the program if mechanical pain persists.

Then my X-ray machine can take a break.


  • Carla February 27, 2017 at 8:06 am

    So so so much yes for this. I try to joke about it/joke it all off with friends and simply say: “I am soft core” and they proper invitations to boot camps etc. I really am. I also really am in this for the long-haul and I know any injury at 47 will derail me in a way it might not have at 27.

  • Rena February 27, 2017 at 8:30 am

    I have a rare form of RA and my knees and shoulders can’t take too much. I had to give up the gym and start swimming regularly.

  • Haralee February 27, 2017 at 9:11 am

    I got hurt in an exercise class about 20 years ago and then again another injury about 5 years ago. Isn’t that just the rub! It is my own fault because I get into the music and push, not the teachers or the class mates but myself. Yes I have proven I can be my own worst enemy. I miss the camaraderie of a class but but for my well being I just bike daily.

  • [email protected] February 27, 2017 at 9:16 am

    Great advice Barbara. So important to listen to your body.

  • Jen February 27, 2017 at 11:45 am

    So interesting as I’m just adjusting my programs down from hardcore cardio with lots of jumping to yoga/pilates with good instruction. I found the other draining and I was terrified of injury. This is great advice!

  • Diane February 27, 2017 at 12:05 pm

    Oh, that I had met you before I blew my knee. The one that had been bothering me. For years. Sigh.

  • 1010ParkPlace February 27, 2017 at 12:42 pm

    Since I dragged a sofa up three flights of stairs–by myself–when I was 21, my lower back has never forgiven me. I swim, stretch, do yoga and weights. After breast cancer, 12 years ago, I’ve had the same trainer who’s sensitive to my back and knee issues. Would you believe he’s the one who scolds me if I take on more than he thinks I should. Hopefully I’ll keep it all together as I age. Thanks for the insight, Barbara. xoxox, Brenda

  • Barbara Torris February 27, 2017 at 3:55 pm

    Thank you for the reminder. At age 75 I am very careful about exercise even though I DO keep moving a lot. The basic idea is that we must remain active or we will not be able to regain what we have given up.

    Thank you.

  • Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond February 27, 2017 at 7:33 pm

    I have an excellent personal trainer who always checks before each session any injuries or how I’ve feeling mentally and physically. I have taken part in boot camps etc but I feel that group sessions don’t have the time to check on everyone’s technique. A good brisk walk is a great way to stay fit and healthy. I would recommend a personal trainer but making sure you choose one who is dedicated to the client and not the hourly rate.

  • Jennifer Dunham February 28, 2017 at 3:16 pm

    This is such an important reminder. It is so necessary to listen to your body when doing these kind of workout programs, and to make sure you are doing one that is right for you!

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