If you’ve been training for years and are approaching middle age, be very careful. While resistance training increases strength, it also strains muscle fibers – especially over time. And to make matters worse, any aerobic activity you do requires lengthening and flexibility of the muscles. Over many years, this conflict of strengthening versus lengthening increases injury to the fibers.
The most common of these injuries is a torn calf muscle, which occurs in more than 60% of all athletes. This typically occurs while walking off the field or after participating in an activity, not during the sport itself. The victim feels as if he has been hit in the calf with golf ball or rock, followed by the inability to stand and pain in the calf.
The good news is that this injury is manageable without surgery. Apply the protocol of rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE) immediately. Next, seek help from your medical or chiropractic professional, in most cases, you can return to activity with minimal limitations.
So, how do you limit the severity of the tear and return to activity? After age 32, reduce the weight used for calf raises and begin to use a balance board. After age 35, stop calf raises altogether.