Need some advice from the seniors here.
For the last month or so ive been going with my father to the gym. Hes 63 with a fused hip and a bad back. We spend about an hour in the pool, he does aquatic exercises and uses the steam room and hot tub while i swim laps. The other day we played basketball for around 30 minutes or so and he had to take the next couple days off because his knees and hip were too sore. Anyone have any advice for natural supplements that can help with muscle recovery and energy levels as well as easing sore joints. I hate to see him get to discouraged cause he "feels too old." Any advice?
Try glucosamine sulfate for his joints. Sold at almost any store, it comes lots of different types, glucosamine sulfate by itself, or with chondrotin or MSN sometimes all three. I have used it for years and swear by it.
Important though is that you follow the dosage instructions for the first month to 6 weeks, if he finds it affective then he can start cutting back, I take one 1500mg tab a day and it works fine.
too old for bike shorts?
I think it is more important to learn from this to modify the work-out (start slow, play less aggressively or play another game ("horse"?). Basketball is a tough game on the joints, with the rapid starts and stops. While glucosamine/chondroitin isn't a bad idea, the jury is still out on it's effectiveness, and it certainly isn't the fountain of youth. Sounds like all was going well with the routine before the basketball game, and you are a terrific son to include him in your program. If you are looking for some more things to do together, why not try some weight training or a yoga class? With proper instruction and modifications the benefits for seniors and disabled persons are well established. You can be a great advocate for him -- help him convey his back and hip history so a safe program can be designed for him.
Weight training is important once you get older. You lose muscle more easily and it is harder to gain it. Like everything else physical, when you're older you have to be more careful about starting a new activity. If the gym has trainers they may be able to help him get started with easier moves.
"bad back" is pretty generic, but I know that working on my core strength has helped my back.. if I keep my core strong then I don't pull muscles in my back as often.
But on the road more
I agree with cyclehen- it sounds like your dad overexerted himself. He has been getting back in the gym for only the past month or so, and engaging in very low impact (but still CV-beneficial) exercise during that time. To jump into 30 minutes of B-ball after that, it's no wonder he's stiff and sore! He needs to ramp up- maybe several games/week, starting at 5 minutes, adding a couple of minutes per game. B-ball is very stressful on the CV system and the joints- if he takes his time, he'll be playing 30 minute games real soon. I wouldn't jump for the glucosamine or any other supplement at this point. No supplement is going to be a good substitute for gradual, activity-specific conditioning. BTW, weight training is an EXCELLENT adjunct to his CV training- the older we get (I'm 58), the more we need it. Impacting the bones is a great way to increase bone mineral density.
I'd have to agree with cyclehen , B-ball would have me a basket case for a week! 1/2 hour of B-ball would totally cripple me... if you're not accustomed to the movements, it can real hurt and even cause injury.
Brendan, you don't mention how young you are, but for anyone at 63 things come a little slower than they did 2 decades prior. Even the most fit and fantastic 60's athletes give defference to dealing with the age thing.
If he hasn;t had much of a consistent exercise program before this, work on building up, and certainly for longer than it might take a younger person to increase fitness.
Not saying to 'go easy' necessarily, but do things which build and support the overall body structure.
Not only does one have to consider muscle condition; but the structural strength is essential to be judged, relative to what is possible at this time. Not just bone, but most importantly, connective tissue. Over-stressing connective tissue (as a 1/2 hr session of B-ball might) could cause lasting injury which some people can never recover from. Certainly you don't want to put him out of action for a couple of months and lose what ever gains he's already made.
Yoga as mentioned, especially slow-flow or therapeutic (or if more easily available - Pilates), and a well thought out weight program would provide a strong base from which other activities (like B-ball) can then be incorporated.
Aquatics are good base conditioning athletics. Structured 'programs' with a knowledgeable instructor would be great, cause if they're really good, they're paying attention to how their 'students' are perfoming and can spot poor or potential injury causing techniques.
Then there's the consideration of his current 'challenges'. Not knowing what a fused hip is, it does sound like it needs some serious consideration. 'Core' work really helps deal with back issues, again Yoga and Pilates can really help here.
Depending on the hip issues, if he's able, a 'spinning' class/program would do great things for his aerobic development and possibly also be of some therapeutic value for the hip (again, really depends on what those issues are...)
Old machinery needs to be well warmed up and more frequently lubed. It just takes a bit longer to get a head of steam...
and maybe he needs activities which just aren;t on your current radar...
I agree with the glucosamine chondrotin. Other than that it just sounds like stiffness as the others have said. If a trainer is unavilable just start slow with weights or the workout machines. I'm 65 and still lift more each year. So I believe he can get there just don't overdo it.
Spit out the back
Definitely yoga (as a yoga teacher, I'm compelled to say that)
One thing I learned through yoga was that the Indian spice turmeric is an anti-inflammatory and great for joints. I put a quarter teaspoon in my morning smoothie. You can also get it in capsules.
aka Phil Jungels
Bicycle riding, with it's low impact, is friendly to old bad joints. Bad knee and back here!