Practical tips from Orthopedic specialist Randal Stavinoha, M.D. Page ContentMost injuries occur because older athletes fail to maintain the physical condition necessary to remain physically competitive. Especially harmful is the habit of working out or playing a sport only once or twice a week, with no other physical activity in between. The healthy habits that protect athletes from injury at any age are particularly important for older adults.Try to keep a consistent, balanced routine.Keeping the body primed for activity is one of the best ways to prevent injuries.Build an exercise routine that not only varies activities, but also includes activity most days of the week. For instance, alternate cardiovascular training, such as running or swimming, balanced with strength building.Warm up every time.Warming up allows the muscles to stretch more gently and slowly. A trainer can help put together a warm up routine tailored to your specific athletic needs.Pay attention to what your body is trying to tell you.This goes for women as much as it does for men.It’s tempting to ignore pain and soreness, especially when you’re trying to achieve a sports-related or fitness goal. However, pain is the body’s way of signaling that it’s time to rest. The best practice is to stop if you feel sharp or stabbing pain during motion. If the pain doesn’t go away with home remedies after a few days, see a qualified orthopedist about the injury.Follow the “10-percent Rule.”Never increase your activity or intensity level by more than 10 percent at a time. Smaller increments give the body more time to adjust, and ensure that the body is physically able to keep up with the new routine.Get your rest.When you start a new sports-related activity or fitness regimen, the increased demands put on your body may come as a shock to your muscles and tendons. Be sure to give them a day off. If your body doesn’t get enough rest, it is more prone to injury.