Variety… The Spice of Life, and Staying Injury-Free: David Chatham’s Fit After Fifty Story

by Alison McIrvin
A guy leaning on a road sign to take a break from biking

Like many of us, David grew up playing soccer, swimming, and running track. During his college years, he could often be found playing intramural volleyball and running.

David crests the hill!

Now David keeps himself busy with hiking, rock climbing, extended backpacking trips, kayaking, and cycling. Currently in his mid-50s, he has done six day-long backpacking trips across the North Cascades, climbed Ingalls Peak, and completed major cycling trips through the Dolomites in Italy and the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park. David is a very busy guy!

That pursuit of adventure and an active life has not come without side effects, however. David has seen his share of knee injuries, sore quads, and even a bicep issue. Determined not to let those injuries set him back, David has found that resting the injured area and recalibrating his approach to training has strengthened his core and upper body, while also avoiding re-injuring his knees.

[Related Article: Top Exercises to Do When You Have a Knee Injury]

David’s first approach to an injury or pain point is to rest the affected area. Once he feels ready to get back at it, he cross-trains with cycling, weight training, and swimming to rebuild his fitness without re-injuring the area.

Paying attention to foot placement on hard hikes helps to protect his knees, as does getting on the bike more and utilizing the gym for a varied workout plan. Maintaining a healthy bodyweight keeps him actively climbing without the additional 10 to 20 pounds on his frame leading to injuries.

David’s fitness plan varies at different times of the year, which also helps with injury prevention. He is in the gym more often in winter months, focusing on core conditioning, upper body strength, stretching, and swimming. He is only in the gym twice a month or so during warmer months, and utilizes hiking and biking for his primary cardio work.

[Related Article: Hiking Guide for Adventurers Over Age 50]

Hacks that work to prevent injuries:

  • Set new climbing or cycling objectives to train toward.
  • Give your knees a break by cycling or swimming.
  • Maintain good trail traction with microspikes and no worn-down boot soles.
  • Vary your gym time throughout the year with other activities you enjoy.

David’s variety approach is working to keep him injury-free and able to achieve the athletic goals he sets his sight on. What is your approach to avoiding injuries and hitting your fitness objectives? Share your story with us!

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