For inspiration, click on photos below......
Older AND Fitter - wait a minute - how can you be both? You become less fit with age; only the "young" can experience peak fitness, right? Upon reaching that half-century mark, you are expected to do less challenging physical activities and physical decline is inevitable. Be satisfied with a couple rounds of golf or a stroll on the greenbelt. Wrong! Many of today's fifty-somethings and beyond are busting that old-school myth wide open and defying conventional thinking. No more excuses, they say, as they climb onto their surfboards, paddle their kayaks through whitewater, summit tough peaks, train for long-distance biking and ultra-marathons, and get fitter through Olympic weightlifting techniques. Becky Borczon Blake stays fit, improving balance and core strength by hooping.
With the increase in research and and explosion of fitness books, techniques and websites, "older" people are challenging themselves and finding their fitness and wellness improving with age. Yes, fundamentally physical decline is unavoidable in the long run, but in the meantime it can be slowed. Challenge our body physically, and it responds by getting stronger. Don't challenge our body, and it responds by getting weaker and less "fit". A decline in fitness causes aging, but aging does not cause a decline in fitness. Mike Carlson, running coach, Y.M.C.A. trainer, and five-time Race to Robie Creek champion said, "Even though age diminishes our physical capacities, it will happen even faster if we don't test ourselves."
I'll have to be partial to baby boomers, of which group I am a proud member. As of 2020, baby boomers are 56 - 74 years old, and their spunk, spirit and drive won't let them go away quietly. "Old age should burn and rave at close of day; /Rage, rage against the dying of the light," said poet Dylan Thomas. He wasn't referring to high intensity interval training (HIIT), which aging science supports in order to extend fitness into our later years, but baby boomers and even some in the "silent generation" have discovered this secret to wellness and feeling healthy.
The people highlighted on this page inspire me with their fitness commitments. The purpose of this page on my website is to celebrate them and their achievements with the hope that others will be inspired, too. I thank them for graciously letting me feature them. Doug Traubel sums up the sentiments of all FIT after 50 people featured: "Being fit makes everything in life more enjoyable." "Older and fitter" people inspire others with their commitment to fitness and wellness because they make fitness a priority - they find time to take responsibility for their health. They exercise even when they don't feel like it, because they are that much closer to their fitness goals. Some have developed a habit for a health/fitness regimen; some are very disciplined, some aren't. Some never step foot in a gym, some have developed strength, balance, flexibility, and body awareness by going to the gym. Many have found inner peace through yoga and reduced back pain through strengthening.
- Sue Birnbaum
"What works for me is a positive attitude, every day. Have a routine and stick to it. Get up at the same time every day. Go walking for at least one hour. Although I might not always feel like it but I make myself do it. I feel so much better when I come home, like a victory. If I give in and stay home I am afraid that might become a habit and then I'd end up not walking at all. That would not be good, have to keep moving."
- Maria Keezer, 85, Palm Springs, California
"You stop, you die."
- Syd, Cross-Fit athlete and avid mountain biker with two knee replacements.
"You've got to be stronger than your excuses."
- Cross-Fit athlete, has improved her bone density numbers since doing Cross Fit regularly.
". . . . you can be old at 40 if you're not careful. Whereas you can be really, really fit at 80.”
- Lynne Robinson, 64, Pilates teacher, author, and presenter
"So many people my age can't even turn their heads without pain. A few minutes of stretching a day keeps those pains away."
- Pauline Horn, 76-year old powerlifter
"Older runners tend to see a decrease in stride length....Dynamic exercises and maximal-effort weight training need to be part of an older runner's training."
- Caolan MacMahon, Director of the Long Run Coaching in Boulder, Colorado
“I believe that I am alive and still very active at 85 thanks to getting into shape and continuing to work out.....be active and enjoy life."
- Bill Bell, triathlete who completed 32 Ironman-distance triathlons after age 59, and two Kona Ultramans at ages 60 and 62
“I enjoy overcoming the psychological challenge of convincing yourself that you can do something that you should not be able to do.”
- Bruce McBarnett, 50-year old high jumper, who raised the U.S. high-jump record for men over 50
"It's a tough road that leads to heights of greatness." - Seneca
"If you want to stay straight up and down rather than humped over, you need to work at it."
- Gail Roper, 89 year-old Masters swimmer
Interesting Articles on Aging and Health
The Workout Drug - latest research on exercise benefits
This Marathoner is a Dog's Best Friend (Wall Street Journal)
Urban Zen for a Woman Walking on Air (PDF)
A Seriously Committed Tandem (PDF)
A Karate Master's Secret Weapon: Ping Pong (Wall Street Journal)
The Best Exercises for Your 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's and Beyond
He Conquered Cancer, then 15 Spartan Races
She's Powerlifting at 76, So You're Officially Out of Excuses
Leaner for Longer: The Rise of the Super-fit 60Somethings
Men Who Can Do More than 40 Push-ups Far Less Likely to Develop Heart Disease
Extra Time: How Smart Exercise Keeps You Younger for Longer
The Butterfly Effect Powers a Masters Swimmer
How Old is Your Body? Here's What Your Fitness Age can Tell You
To Stay Speedy in his 70's, he got Buff
An Ultramarathon Runner at 71
She Can't Stay Out of the Pool at 89
Exercise Wins: Fit Seniors can have Hearts that are 30 Years Younger
Here's What Will Reduce Your Risk of Dementia, According to New WHO Guidelines
Fitter Than You: Three 50-plus Athletes Who can Kick Your Butt
Why Exercise Alone Won't Save Us
The Healthiest People in the World Don't Go to the Gym
New Physical Activity Guidelines Urge Americans: Move More, Sit Less
The Best Foods for Athletes
How Often Should You Work Out? The Perfect Weekly Workout Routine
Light Activity May Lower Harmful Effects of Sitting
Getting Active Later in Life Brings Benefits