Time To Start Training

Did you watch the Olympics?  There’s something about the pageantry and drama that make it hard to click past them.  As someone who has enjoyed sports for my entire life, both as an observer and participant, I have a great deal of respect for the coaching, dedication, discipline and hard work it takes to compete at that level.

However, in the past few years, my favorite sports stories have been about the Senior Olympics.  Maybe it’s because one summer’s recent Senior Games were held in my hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Or, maybe it’s because in a two-week period more than 10,000 older athletes participated – and every one of them was at least fifty years old.  Interestingly, the photos showed that these athletes were not all skinny, lean, and looking far younger than others in their age groups. They were simply older Americans who chose to follow a passion and participate.

My favorite story was about the 104-year-old bowler who won his age division.  When interviewed about his accomplishment the Olympian said that he thought he had done well, “especially since there was not anybody else in my age group!”

According to a research study on Senior Olympic athletes, headed by Vonda Wright, MD, “It is not uncommon for Senior Olympic athletes to run, swim, or throw faster than sedentary people 20 to 30 years their junior.”  One astonishing finding is that more than half of the oldest female competitors (even at age 80) still had normal bone density, a dramatic contrast to the low bone density commonly seen in older women.  Wright’s research has shown that, “seniors can make significant improvements in their physical and mental health by increasing their activity at any age.”

So, let’s keep it simple.  You may not be interested in watching or participating in the Senior Olympics.  But are you interested in a healthier ‘old age’?  Are you someone who enjoys the routine that comes from doing the same activity every day?  Or, do you need variety?  Do you like to exercise alone or in a group?  Need some ideas?  How about yoga, walking, jogging, swimming, biking or Tai Chi?  Weight lifting or line-dancing?  Grab a friend or a neighbor, make a list and get going.  Every day.  You’ll feel better.

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One Response to “Time To Start Training”

  1. I really enjoyed the information about the study on Senior Olympic athletes. I think as the Baby Boomers move into “senior” status, we are going to be astounded at the level of fitness many of them are able to achieve, even at very advanced ages.

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