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Nov 8

Dan Marino Shared How He Lost 20 Pounds and Overcame Knee Pain at 60 – menshealth.com

Its been decades, but Dan Marino still cant walk down the street without hearing it: Laces out!

Its one of the most iconic lines from his star-turn cameo in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. And even though the movie premiered in 1994, fans still shout it at the nine-time Pro Bowl quarterback.

Its fun. I enjoy it, the NFL Hall of Famer says of being approached by the movies long-time fans. I tell them: I played all those years of football, but that was my best work.

But the people parroting those Ace quoteables to the Hall of Famer arent kids anymoretheyre in their late 30s and beyond. And Marino isnt the 33-year-old quarterback of a perennial playoff contender anymore, either: The Dolphins legend is 60 now. And instead of racking up eye-popping stats on the gridiron (even in todays much pass-happier league, Marino still ranks in the top 10 all-time for completions), hes a regular guy thats dealing with the same issues as many other American menknee pain and pandemic weight gain.

During shelter-in-place orders due to COVID-19, Americans gained around two pounds per month, according to statistics from a Journal of the American Medical Association report. For people who were less active for a year, that could mean 20 to 25 pounds gainedthe amount Marino put on during that period. But it wasnt just from sheltering in place: The former QB also had both of his knees replaced during the past year, looking to help with pain that has plagued him since his playing days. Recovering from those surgeries meant less time to be activeand additional weight.

You dont have to have thrown 8,300 NFL passes to feel that kind of pain: According to some older statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one in five Americans suffers from knee painonly low back discomfort is more common. And replacements like the one Marino had are becoming more common: The governments Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality says knee replacements doubled between 2002 and 2012, with as many as 40 percent of these surgeries being performed on people 45 to 64 in 2015.

So you may not have a bust in Canton, but you could be at risk for the same maladies that affect Marino. Heres how hes fighting backand how you can use his advice to strengthen your knees and reduce your risk for surgeries later on.

Dropping pounds can reduce your pain and slow damage to your knees: A 2015 study of 506 obese individuals found that losing 10 percent or more of their body weight significantly reduced the amount of cartilage lost in their knees.

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It makes sense: The more weight youre carrying, the more load your knee bears with every step. And with the 20-plus pounds hed gained convalescing from two knee surgeriesbeing less active, and more inclined to down a plate of pasta or twoMarino knew hed be feeling the effects.

Mainly, its getting started: You start losing weight, you see progress, and you want to lose more, he says. That meant getting off the couch to get active again, with more walking, cycling, and pool work. And returning to his hour-long morning training sessions with Terry Kirby, a former tailback and Dolphins teammate who has been Marinos trainer for years.

It also meant getting his eating on track. Marino has lost weight withand appeared as a spokesperson forNutrisystem in the past, and returned to the diet again this year to drop his pandemic pounds.

Christian PetersenGetty Images

It makes it simplethey just send it right to your house, he says. The foods that are delivered now have larger portions than in his previous go-rounds with the company, but he says they still helped him lose weight. They have new foodsburritos and soups and pastas, and Ive always liked that.

As a player in the 1980s and 90s, Marino says quarterbacks basically did the same workouts as players at other positionsonly lighter.

We did a lot of the same things: Lots of bench press, though I didnt lift as heavy, he says.

His training has evolved over the decades. Today, Kirby and Marino are focused on keeping his knees healthy by strengthening his quadsincluding via blood flow restriction training at a rehab facility.

Performing this type of trainingwhere blood flow is restricted with a cuff around the leghelped participants in a 2017 study reduce their knee pain more while lifting less: Those performing blood flow-restricted leg extensions and leg presses with 30 percent of their one-rep max for eight weeks had greater pain relief than those performing with 70 percent of their max without the restriction.

The problem? Its tough to do blood flow restriction training properly without specialized equipment. But Marino is also working with Kirby to strengthen his quads with bodyweight squatsand you can relieve knee pain with lower-intensity work, too.

When scientists at Wake Foresthad people with knee pain perform a six-exercise leg workout with low or high intensity for 18 months, those who performed the moves at 30-40 percent of their one-rep max for three sets of 15 reps had similar reduction in knee pain as those who used 80-90 percent of their one-rep max for 4- to 8-rep sets.

The moves they used: Hip abduction, hip adduction, leg curl, leg press, leg extension, and seated calf raises.

Kirbys quad-strengthening protocol with Marino also trades some strength work for time on the stationary bike. And science backs this up for knee pain, too: In a research review from earlier this year, scientists found that stationary cycling was effective for relieving achy knees.

In one study from 2012, participants with mild-to-moderate knee pain who took stationary bike classes twice per week for 40 to 60 minutes per class significantly reduced their pain after 12 weeks.

So jump on the bike for two sessions weekly: And you dont have to go all out. In the studys classes, participants pushed their heart rates to an average of 70 to 75 percent of their max.

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Dan Marino Shared How He Lost 20 Pounds and Overcame Knee Pain at 60 - menshealth.com

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