Oh, to be 25 again. Maybe that was the time in your life when you could bench the most weight, run your fastest mile—and still get away with crushing a pizza and some beer afterwards without tacking on a gut. But, aging isn’t as bad as you may think—at least when it comes to your fitness. In fact, keeping up your exercise routine as you get older can actually help you to essentially age in reverse. Really. Just look at the results of a recent survey which looked at 4,200 athletes who competed in The National Senior Games, the average real age of which was 68, yet their “fitness age” was 43. That’s nearly ¼ century difference. You can find out more about how fitness age is calculated—and actually discover your own fitness age here.
“The National Senior Games athletes are living proof that you can make a dramatic impact on slowing the aging process by staying fit,” says Pam Peeke, MD, MPH, FACP, Trustee, National Senior Games Foundation Board. Just take a look at these four amazing men—ranging in age from 59 to 101—for proof and inspiration.
Events: 400M/800M “I have run nearly 105,000 miles on this machine in the past forty five years.”
Prioritize Recovery "As every athlete knows, fitness takes place in the recovery mode. Aside from icing as needed and mega-dosing on supplements (particularly B vitamins), my secret to recovery is a fifteen minute nightly soak in a hot bath with three pounds of Epsom salt. Old school? Maybe, but I have done it for years and recover like a champ."
Take the right supps "When maximum oxygen consumption is key, I recommend phosphate loading. By loading, I mean ingesting recommended dosages two times the day prior to hardest workouts and competitions and again one hour before said event. Phosphates have been proven to improve oxygen uptake and allow one to 'stay up against the red line' longer."
Treat Yourself "Regular bodywork is an absolute must to keep muscles and tissues healthy. Too many athletes only rely on bodywork once injured. I have a 1 to 1 1/2 session of deep tissue massage, ART, or active isolated stretching at least once a week and sometimes twice."
Make it Fun “Keep exercising [as you get older] but make sure you enjoy what you do. Enjoy the camaraderie of competition.”
Warm Up Right "Make sure you have a proper “loosening up” and stretch time before exercising. I typically do a 60-count stretch including toe-touches, arm pulls and left and right twists, 20-25 pushups and 30 ab crunches."
“I was born and raised on the farm where there is always plenty of work to keep you in shape. I did a lot of walking and running when I was young. Four years in the U. S. Marines during World War II kept me in shape. I was always involved in sports. Since I left the ranch, I have an exercise regimen to keep me in shape on a daily basis to help me prepare for the upcoming National Senior Games.”
John's Tips: Eat Right "Nutrition is important for me, and breakfast is usually oatmeal with milk and honey and a cup of cranberry juice. The rest of the meal is a balanced diet of meat, vegetables, and fruit."
Have A Motivator "In 1985, I started participating in the Senior Games. That kept me motivated to keep in shape."