getting old sucks
Since I've been bored staying home during the pandemic, I have taken to sports with my characteristic childlike enthusiasm. Unfortunately, my body painfully reminded me that I am no longer the kid I once was. In the last two years, I've hurt my knee and both of my shoulders, my left in a freak bouldering accident and my right from serving full power in tennis without preparing properly.
Being injured sucks. I've had to deal with one major injury in the past, which ended my powerlifting days in college, but these shoulder injuries bother me far more, likely because I have fewer outside activities to distract me at home. While not being able to boulder for the foreseeable future sucks, I'm lucky that these injuries weren't more serious. Hopefully the pain of being injured teaches me valuable lessons.
In response, I scaled back my physical activity. I now opt for less risky ways to get my exercise, like walking instead of longboarding. When I do play sports, I try to dial down my effort, opting not to chase down every long ball at full sprint for fear of getting injured. This has been hard for my competitive nature to bear, but injuries suck. If I don't want to be sidelined for months at a time, I need to learn to not push my body past its limits.
In addition, I pay more attention to a thorough warm-up and cool-down when I play sports. I run through a series of dynamic stretches before playing tennis or soccer, and stretch statically for as long as I can after I'm done. When my body's sore, I give it the time off it needs to recover (and then some).
I've also started researching methods to self-rehabilitate and prevent more injuries in the future. The internet is full of helpful resources, and one of my favorite creators is Ben Patrick, or as he's better known, the Kneesovertoesguy. I first discovered him on Instagram years ago when I used to have an account, but luckily for me his Youtube is a treasure mine as well. I am a big fan of his mobility-first, science-backed approach to fitness, and especially admire the way he practices what he preaches. I highly recommend checking him out for ways to 'bulletproof your joints'.
I don't know who needs to hear this, but take it from me: unless you're a professional athlete, longevity should be your first priority. Put in the work to make your body as resilient to injury as possible. You only get one this life.