Hidekichi Miyazaki was the oldest competitive sprinter – at 105 years old – when he took part in the Kyoto Masters Athletics Autumn Competition in Kyoto Japan back in 2015. This is not the only world record to be held by a senior athlete, and shows better than anything else that it is possible to be active and excel in sports even at an older age. It is for this reason that statistics indicating that only 35%-44% of adults who are 75 years or older are still physically active should worry us. However, while these numbers are certainly sobering, not all hope is lost, as there still exists in the sporting world a significant portion of senior players who continue to bring glory in their respective fields.
Take golf for instance – even if you know just a little about it, you may be surprised to learn that one of the oldest successful athletes was in this sport: Gary Player, who was 73 years old when he finally retired in 2009. There are a number of athletes who are considered old but are steadily reinforcing the importance of working out even as you age. So if you’ve got all the golf gear but no idea – it’s never too late to get out on the course and give it a go.
Age Is Just A Number
The tired cliché ‘age is just a number’ remains as valid today as when it was coined. This is especially true in how it applies to your health and the need to exercise consistently even as you grow older. There are a number of great benefits that come with exercising for aging adults. One of these benefits is the prevention of common diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. However, even with these benefits, some may still argue that exercising is too expensive to sustain on a retirement budget. However, it is possible to stay healthy and in shape even on a tight budget. The secret is to keep your exercise and diet plan simple. Maintain a simple routine of working out by ensuring at least 30 min of exercise a day, and opt for home-cooked meals. Staying healthy is as much about inspiration and motivation as it is about putting in the actual work, and there are a number of sporting stars who are showing us how it’s done.
All Hail The Iron Nun
You may have come across a mention of Sister Madonna Buder, who is fondly known as the Iron Nun. She is now 89, and earned her name from her prolific Ironman career as well as her triathlons. By the age of 86, Sister Madonna had completed over 360 triathlons and 45 ironmans. This is no small feat, given the fact that an ironman is a three-part race that consists of a 2.4 mile swim, which is then followed by a 112-mile bike ride and finally capped off by a full marathon. To date, she is the oldest person to complete the Ironman triathlon under the dictated 17-hour time limit. And thanks to Sister Madonna, the Ironman organization created new categories for the 75 to 79 and 80-84 age groups.
Cross Country At 71
Chuck Wakefield is one of the true definitions of age not being an obstacle to accomplishment. The 71 year old gained notoriety when he got on his bike and rode 3400 miles across the US to raise awareness for multiple myeloma, a bone marrow cancer that had afflicted him for 14 years. Due to his determination and practice, even at his age, Wakefield can still keep up with the faster and younger cycling crowd.
As these great athletes have shown, it is never too late to prioritize health and fitness, and it is still possible to accomplish amazing feats of physical strength and endurance even as you get older.