Runners don’t necessarily need to drop their hard training days, said Amby Burfoot, 66, who plans to run the Boston Marathon in April on the 45th anniversary of his 1968 title. Burfoot isn’t running as far or as fast, and he needs more recovery time. But he still runs vigorous hill repeats several times a week and alternates running with easy spinning on a recumbent bike. He eliminated his long runs — his longest is a 13-miler vs. the 20-milers of his youth. “I still run marathons but don’t race them,” he said.
… if you’re a swimmer
Add gravity. Be sure to incorporate strength training, walking or anything weight bearing to help prevent the loss of bone density, said Pete McCall, an exercise physiologist with the American Council on Exercise. Also spend an equal amount of time on your back to help balance out the curves of the spine, recommends Jill Murphy, a physical therapist, licensed athletic trainer and strength and conditioning specialist in Neenah, Wis. Adding some backstroke into the mix “will stretch your pectoral muscles and work the muscles between your shoulder blades that help stabilize your spine and maintain your posture all day long.”
… if you’re a cyclist
Run. “Cycling mainly involves the quadriceps muscles while running is primarily a hamstring activity,” Holland said. “When either of these muscles is too strong, injury occurs. Combining biking and running keep these muscle groups balanced, which keeps you injury-free.” Also try the stationary rower, which doesn’t put vertical pressure on the knees, McCall said.
… if you’re a bodybuilder
Try yoga. “Improve your flexibility and provide a static challenge to the muscles versus the dynamic ‘pump, pump, pump,’ rep after rep you’ve experienced with a long-term routine of bodybuilding,” Olson said.
… if you’re a tennis player
Balance the other side. “Do resistance training and in the form of dumbbells, bands and tubing to balance the strength on each side of the body,” Olson said. “If you are right-handed, most of the joints and muscles on the right side of the body will be better developed than those on the left side. With free weights, each arm has to independently hoist the weight such as shoulder presses with the left side versus the right side.”
… if you don’t work out
Start moving. “Don’t worry about weights, just get up and walk or try something fun like Zumba,” McCall said. Start with a form of cardio, such as walking, spinning or using a cardio machine. Adopt a good core-building activity, such a Pilates or use TRX to build a baseline of strength. Holland recommends exercise DVDs. “They’re ridiculously inexpensive now, you don’t have to leave home to exercise and you can find everything from tai chi to P90X,” he said. “And, if you press play enough, they really work.”