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It’s Never Too Late to Achieve Your Athletic Aspirations

Posted Sep 20 2011 12:33am

As George Elliott so aptly put it:  ”It’s never too late to be what you might have been“. This quote has really resonated with me this year as I’ve watched someone close to me at age 45 realize athletic aspirations that eluded him as a younger man, including qualifying for the World Duathlon Championships. Furthermore, he has achieved PRs (personal records) in several events, beating men half his age. He’s arguably in his athletic prime and he’s shown me that it’s never too late to ‘be the athlete you might have been’.

After doing a little research, I discovered there are other similar stories of athletes achieving success long after most have retired from competition. Here is an impressive  list of impressive feats of male athletes supposedly past their prime  and here are some  female athletes who demonstrate that ‘age is just a number ‘. What all of them have in common is a refusal to limit their athletic aspirations as they aged. Perhaps the best example, however, is  Jack La Lane, who was achieving physical feats  well into his 70s, including towing 70 boats with 70 people 1 1/2 miles (from the Queen’s Way Bridge in the Long Beach Harbor to the Queen Mary) while handcuffed, shackled and fighting strong winds and currents.

Physiologically, older athletes need more recovery time. They also need more warmup time before training and especially competing. But the most important ingredient to a masters athlete’s success is consistency. Consistent training and competing is essential to injury prevention and injury prevention is critical because older athletes take longer to heal and longer to get back in shape after a layoff. No longer does the weekend warrior approach to fitness work for seasoned competitors. Regular workouts, healthy eating habits, quality sleep – all are necessary to keep older athletes injury-free. What they lack in youthful physicality, however, masters athletes more than make up for in wisdom and experience. Older athletes are typically smarter athletes – both in their training and lifestyle habits and in their competitive strategies.

Like many masters athletes, I find that I am “higher maintenance” in my 40s than I was in my 20s and 30s. Regular chiropractic adjustments and  acupuncture treatments  are necessary to keep injuries at bay and my body functioning optimally.  Maintaining a healthy diet is essential  for me and these days I  require 8 and ideally 8 and a half hours of quality sleep  whereas I used to get by on 6 to 7 hours. Now if I only had my twenty-something body with my forty-something wisdom and experience…

Be Well,


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