Age can NOT be an excuse for not working out!
Regardless of how Canadian equestrian Ian Millar performs at the 2012 Olympics in London, he’ll be able to boast a new world’s record. That’s because he will have competed in an astonishing 10 Olympic games, during a career spanning 42 years. This would be his 11th Olympics, if it weren’t for a multinational boycott of the 1980 games in Moscow.
At 65 years of age, Millar isn’t the only senior citizen competing in London; Japanese equestrian Hiroshi Hoketsu is 71. But unlike the many hundreds of young athletes gathering for the games, this Canadian coach and competitor has proven career longevity is possible even in high-performance sport. Congratulations, Ian Millar!
But you don’t need to be an Olympic athlete… You just need to get off the sofa and get moving.
“One of the things I love the most about watching the Olympics is everyone gets inspired to start working out,” Mike Sophia, CEO of the National Senior Games Association, says.
No one is ever too old to start a fitness plan and reap the benefits, he adds. Being active improves sleeping, weight control, concentration and mood. Regular physical activity can help control blood pressure and cholesterol and may reduce the risk of conditions such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, osteoporosis, depression, Alzheimer’s disease and erectile dysfunction, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Exercising is probably the single most effective way to decrease heart disease risk, the USA’s leading cause of death. The good news: 80% of it is preventable.
If you’re not active, ease into your workouts to prevent injuries. Make it part of your daily routine, getting a mix of aerobic, resistance and flexibility training. The government recommends adults get 150 minutes a week of moderate to intense exercise, but new studies show that less can be effective.
One of the tips in the Mayo Clinic’s book Healthy Heart for Life is to turn 10 minutes of sedentary time into active time each day: walk-and-talk meetings, short breaks to lift hand weights, and stationary bike rides while catching up on the TV news. Chances are once you get started, you’ll want to increase your commitment, the authors write, because you’ll feel better.
Still, the fired-up feeling you get from watching Jamaica’s Usain Bolt sprint down the track probably will cool off unless you have a long-range goal. Sophia has a way to help you make it stick.
He is lining up people 50 and older to compete at the 2013 Summer National Senior Games in Cleveland. Qualifying continues through the end of the year. He expects a record number of participants; about 10,000 competed in 2011.
Track events are by far the most popular. And maybe for good reason: Regular jogging increases men’s life expectancy by 6.2 years and women’s by 5.6 years, the Copenhagen City Heart Study found. Researchers say one to 2½ hours a week, in two to three sessions, gave the best results, especially when performed at slow or average speed.
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