There are no limits. The only limit is your mind. You’re only as old as you feel. Yes, these are all a bit cliché but – they’re also very true. You likely know someone who defies their age – looking, living, and thriving well-below their years. You can also experience this fountain of youth and energy.
There are no magic pills, foods, or solutions that can give you the feeling of energy, wellness, and health – it comes with good habits, consistency, an open mind, and a sense of adventure. Yes, you do need a bit of luck on your side with healthy joints, the ability to follow the unbeaten path, and overall wellness. But, really there are no limits on what you can do.
Hiking the Pacific Coast Trail, picking up a new sport at the age of 60, learning to scuba dive or sail during your retirement years, packing up your belongings in a storage trailer and setting out for a round-the-world adventure – there’s no reason why you can’t do this and more.
Consider these thoughts on aging and activity from a recent article on Bloomberg news, “The age of some of the best in the world in their sport has gone up over time, like the Roger Federers of the world, in a number of endurance sports,” says Robert Litchfield, a Canadian orthopedic surgeon how has operated on around 30 Olympic-level skiers.
“It’s not a given anymore that you’d become weaker and slower with aging,” he says. “You can maintain a lot of physical tools if you take good care of yourself – and the advantage (is) with age comes wisdom.”
So what does this mean for you? Well, we want to support you in your goals and activities by giving you some tips and advice on how to embrace challenges head-on – regardless of your age. Yes, we do want you to remember any underlying health conditions such as arthritis or other mobility issues, but remember these don’t need to stop you, they just might change the way you achieve your goal or enjoy your hobbies.
Building Your Fitness Base
Any activity you choose to take on such as tennis, kayaking, gardening, swimming, hiking, or long-term travel requires a base level of fitness. Not only will you enjoy your tennis games or day out on the water in your kayak more, but you’ll also protect yourself from injury risk.
Whether you’re getting ready for the 2019 United States Senior Games or 2018 Canadian Senior Games or want to prepare for months long vacation in Europe, you need to be fit. Adding these activities into your weekly routine will help slow down aging and get you ready for that next big challenge:
- Endurance exercise. Get out for a walk, run, bicycle ride, cross-country ski, snowshoe or any other type of endurance activity. Choose a pace that feels natural and comfortable, allowing you to talk easily with your work-out partner. You don’t need to be huffing and puffing to reap the rewards of endurance activity. In fact, slow and steady wins this race – think turtle not rabbit.
- Strength training. We all lose muscle as we age – it’s a fact. But, with regular strength training, such as power yoga, a weight routine, TRX workout, or body weight exercises you can stop this muscle loss and even build muscle in the process. Don’t rush out and join a hard-core gym – instead talk to your friends at the tennis club or golf course and find out what they’re doing to build strength. As an extra bonus, you’ll be providing your joints with the much-needed muscular support they need to stay flexible and mobile.
The number one rule to remember when adding in any new exercise, sport, or other activity is take it slow and steady. Don’t sign up for 10 kilometer run if you haven’t run farther than 100 meters in the last year. Don’t start power lifting if you’ve never done a bicep curl. Remember with age comes wisdom – think hard about your goals and your abilities. Listen to your body and think long-term.
Real Inspiration from Real People
We live in a society that likes to place age limits on what we can and can’t do. How often have you heard your friends say “I could never do that. I’m so old” or “I don’t think I can, I’m so old.” Well, you can break-free from this negative mindset and do what you want, regardless of your age.
Look at what these real people are doing right now:
- Sister Madonna Buder. Now 87 years old, this Sister Madonna began running at the age of 48 and now she is the oldest person to finish an Ironman Triathlon under the 17-hour time limit. Because of her participation in Ironman events, organizers have been forced to add new age categories – 75 to 79 and 80 to 84.
- Paul Tetrick. A passionate cyclist, this 86-year-old grandfather is still able to ride with his granddaughter, professional cyclist Alison Tetrick. Paul Tetrick has won more than 12 USA Cycling Time Trial Championships, in this solo bike race against the clock.
- Cheryl Bernard. This 50-year old Olympian competed in the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics as a member of the Canadian curling team. She chalks up her ability to remain competitive with much younger athletes to her consistency and healthy lifestyle.
- Noriaki Kasai. This 45-year old Japanese ski jumper turns heads on the ski jumping circuit. Kasai competed in his eighth Olympic games at Pyeongchang, which is remarkable considering most athletes retire from ski jumping in their 20’s.
So, what is that you want to do? Is there a sport or activity you have always wanted to try? Do you have a dream trip you’d like to take? Or perhaps you’ve never really been active and are ready to make a change?
Whatever it is – you can do it. Any activity at any age – it really is within your reach. Be smart, patient, consistent, listen to your body, take care of your joints, and eat well – it’s amazing how your body will pay you back.