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Saturday, September 01, 2007

But I'm Too Old To Exercise

I've really been enjoying Ross Enamait's series on older athletes getting it done.
Dara Torres wins 100m Freestyle at age 40
59-year old playing college football
Randy Couture wins UFC Heavyweight Championship at 44
We all know (or maybe are) people that find any excuse under the sun to not get any physical activity. Yet, CrossFit and The Performance Menu are loaded with 40-plus athletes rocking killer bodies and even better athletic performances. Sure, age makes a difference in how quickly the body recovers and how much muscle can be built, but look at guys like Jack LaLanne and Art De Vany. Art is 70 and LaLanne is in his 90s, both still strong as can be by following evolutionary practices of eating unprocessed foods and hitting intense exercise. Art also throws in some fasting here and there.

And then I came across this WebMD article that dances around the issue and seems a bit wishy-washy (not that I'd expect otherwise from WebMD).

First, they give some advice that is quite a surprise coming from WebMD: do something other than long, joint-pounding runs. Considering this site likes to focus on the high-carb, low-fat, aerobics is good crowd, this is huge.

"Even if you're aerobically active, you don't prevent loss of muscles. If you do exactly the same thing, you will lose muscle and gain fat. Strength training is the only way to increase or preserve muscle mass."

But here's where they get back to the excuses for not being in shape.
"It is also natural in the aging process," she says, "to automatically lose a sense of balance." She discovered that when she tried taking her grandchildren ice-skating after 30 years off the ice: "I was all over the place," she says.

Hmmm....naturally lost balance; it couldn't have anything to do with 30 years off the ice could it? They then go on to say that with some practice she's back to doing jumps and spins. As they say in their article, "Use it or lose it." One of my favorite excuses for people not exercising is "I'm too out of shape." Well you have to start some time.

Older athletes do have to be more diligent with recovery and nutrition than their younger counterparts, but age is not an excuse for not being fit. Proper training and proper nutrition will allow your body to express its genes properly rather than languishing into an increasingly decrepit old age. Check out the Senior Olympics in 2009 in the Bay Area to see some old folks that aren't letting age hold them back. It looks like there isn't a 2008 Games and 2007 was in Louisville in June, which unfortunately I didn't get a chance to see.