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by Joseph Benanti


I’ve been sidelined . . . I’ve been active in sports my whole life, and been pretty good at it.  Not a pro by a loooong shot, but I’ve kind of defined myself by my strength, speed and athletic capabilities in sports from football, basketball and track as a teen to tennis and weightlifting as an adult.  Despite the chronic muscle pulls and strains, I have been major injury free my entire life until I began experiencing a nagging ache in my right hip about two years ago after every work out. 

Here’s the irony, I’m a physical therapist, and specialized in orthopedic problems during my 33 years of being a clinician.  Time to be analytical and objective about what was happening to me; only problem was I was my absolute worst patient, and treated the growing problem by putting my head in the sand.

Well here’s the challenge that faces me and the rest of us boomers:

According to Dr. Chester Simmons, Orthopedic surgeon from Chester County Hospital in his article “Boomeritis:  Aching Hips and Knees:

“The baby boomer generation is beginning to gray.  Men and women in this group are demonstrating a high incidence of wear-and-tear arthritis, particularly in their hips and knees.  The Boomer’s focus on physical fitness and active recreation has led to increased stress on joints and an explosion of “overuse” injuries.  Degenerative arthritis is showing up in patients in their 50’s and 40’s who were previously considered “too young” for joint replacement surgery.” 

Making matters worse, my boomer friends, is that according to the American Association of Long Term Care Insurance, “A higher percentage of baby boomers are obese than in any other group in the US according a a recent study.  The research revealed that over a third (36%) of US baby boomers are obese.”


Over the past two years my hip pain has increased subtly, but continually, and month by month my world has closed in on me; I have had to stop tennis, hiking, jogging, and even leisurely walking more than a half mile has my hip talking to me.  I have had all relevant diagnostic studies which show I have degenerative arthritis of the hip.  I am now taking anti-inflammatories on a daily basis, and every step I take hurts.  The only exercise I can tolerate now is a stationary bike.  During this time my weight has ballooned to 280 pounds with a loss in strength (I was once able to bench press over 400 pounds), and functional endurance.  How can that be; I’m only 55 years old and was expecting to be on the top of the ladder in the 55 and older singles tennis at the local club? 

Can you believe the irony?  I’m a Physical Therapist who develops fall management programs across the US and talks to seniors about the necessity of staying fit and active.  I have spent the last 30 years treating and educating patients on how to deal with degenerative changes, and now I am facing the very same situation, and not doing a very good job of it . . . until now.

I am going to face this situation, get my head out of the sand and end the hypocracy today.  I want you to join me if you are in the same boat.  You may do it differently, but the first step is always consulting your physician, and being guided by him/her. 

Well, here’s my plan.  My orthopedic and I agree that I need to have a total hip replacement within the next year.  In order to be a good surgical candidate, I need to lose at least 60 pounds.   What’s the game plan?

Here’s the beauty of having some of the top experts in their respective fields at our collective fingertips.  I am going to begin by asking Lisa Byrne to comment on this topic.  Lisa is the owner and chief creative officer at Pilates for Sport, LLC in Bucks County, Pa. She has her B.S in Exercise Physiology and is a certified Pilates Instructor.  I’m going to ask her to do a consult for me and you and talk about the need for exercise for boomers in the light of “boomeritis”; what is prudent, and what are some guidelines. 

Over the next number of months, I will also be reaching out to some of our other prestigious collaborators including Dr. Jamie Huysman, to talk about dealing with the emotional frustration of not being able to do what we were once able to , and one of our newest collaborators Michael Carnevale, from Genewize to discuss the latest in gene focused nutrition/weight loss.  Let me hear from you also as to what you are dealing with and how our experts can help you.  Time to get off of the sideline and back into the game!!

Tags: boomers life changes health wellness exercise

I so appreciate the two preceding comments because they represent the tendency that we all have to “put our head in the sand” with regard to our health.  “I feel good, therefore, I don’t need to see the doctor” can be a fatal error since so many conditions like high blood pressure are symptomless.  The first step in any lifestyle program is to consult your physician first to ensure that you are going in the right direction.  This is especially true in our boomer years.  Thank you for your input and keep the comments coming!  Joe Benanti

by Joseph Benanti on May 19, 2012 07:28AM

I’m not quite to the boomeritis level (yet?), but I’ll definitely be sharing this article with my dad!  He sometimes needs a little extra encouragement to see his doctor.

BTW…  Mr. “Chicken Hearted”, I’m aware of your last golf score and know where you live!!

by on May 18, 2012 01:38PM

As a 67 year old man who has not been athletic in the last 42 years, with the exception of golf, my focus is to attempt to loose at least 40 pounds and develop a vastly healthier eating and exercise regiment for myself. I feel quiet good, take no medications and have no health issues I am aware of, but then again, I very rarely go to the doctor. I think many people my age, who are enjoying life, avoid going to the doctor and having all sorts of tests performed for fear of having something discovered which will change their happy life style. Even as I express this, I know it’s ridiculous and I need to get over my apprehension to seeking a doctor and getting some medical screening done! Any suggestions? Thank you, Chicken Hearted

by on May 06, 2012 07:54PM
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