Senior Fitness – Better Late than Never: Real Life Inspirations
Angela Copson is the fastest marathon runner in her age bracket – she’s 67. Meanwhile, in Illinois, 78-year old Shirley Webb set a world record for her age by dead lifting 225 pounds with ease. You might think they have been running and weightlifting all their lives, but Angela only started running when she was 59 and Shirley took up weightlifting when she was 76, before then she could barely pick herself up off the floor. When it comes to senior fitness, Angela and Shirley show that it’s never too late to start.
It’s not just complete beginners though who can benefit, many sports players, professional or amateur, slowly stop doing any kind of sport, but even when over 60, they can regain their fitness and find new sporting goals. Take Gaelic Football legend, 71 year old Patsy Forbes. He has transformed himself from a title-winning player into one of the fastest 100 meter runners over 70.
You too can take inspiration from these runners and weightlifters, be it walking soccer, tennis, swimming or whichever sport takes your fancy. The important thing is to take the right steps and ensuring it helps you not only feel better, but is enjoyable to do too. Here’s a few ideas on how to achieve senior fitness.
Start at a Center and Pick Realistic Goals
Angela Copson says the most important thing is to start slowly and build yourself up. Getting fit and into sport when 60 or above is much the same as getting into one as a kid. You will not be instantly fast or ever fast, but if you start slowly you can build your body and muscles up slowly, in a constructive manner, without overdoing it. Shirley Webb agrees, she set herself realistic steps to increase the weight she lifted until she hit the world record. Currently, Shirley is trying to work herself up to 275 pounds with the ultimate goal of deadlifting 300.
Find a Workout Buddy
Most people find it easier to reach goals, workout, and get fit if they have a buddy to go with. Most importantly, the right kind of buddy will make the experience more fun. This does not have to be a fellow pensioner as it could just as easily be a relative or someone else in the gym. It helps if you are at a similar level, but a beginner is a beginner at any age. For Shirley, her workout buddy is her 20-year old granddaughter whereas Angela joined local grassroots sports clubs with people of a similar age and ability as her.
Pick a Senior-friendly Gym & an Understanding Trainer
If you are going to go more pro with your sporting ambition and find a trainer and gym, shop around carefully first. Each gym and trainer has their own style and type of clientele. A gym filled with young moms or muscular boxers might not be the best for you. However, find whichever type makes you feel comfortable and which will support you. Moreover, find a trainer who has some experience of working with senior athletes or who is willing to learn and adapt with you.
Thanks to Jess Walter, Freelance Writer, for this contribution on senior fitness.