I went to the pool today to get in a short swim. While there I got to talking with an older guy named Joe. He informed me that he will turn 88 this year and I was amazed. If I were to guess his age prior I would have said 70-72. He definitely looked physically younger than his chronological age. In speaking with him it also became clear that his mind was very sharp due to his exercise and diet regimen of the past 48 years. I say 48 years because at age 40 he quit a 2 pack a day smoking habit and began a lifestyle change that included daily exercise.
He keeps his routine simple. Upon waking he has a coffee then heads to his Concept 2 Rower and rows for 30 min daily. He swims 4-5 times a week. He shared that his own father passed away at 44 and, here he is, almost at double that age. He said that he has exercise goals that he shoots for and he enjoys the social side of activity. I ended up shortening my swim as I really enjoy talking to people like Joe. They amaze me because they are still at it, refusing to slow down and do the stereotypical aging thing highlighted by recliners and card games. Advancing years should not deter people from continuing to exercise. I definitely subscribe to the "use it or lose it" philosophy. I only hope I can be as active as Joe when I get older.
With Ironman there is definitely changing attitudes towards aging and racing. The 70+ age groups are growing and the first participant in the 85-89 mens age group should take place at this year's Hawaii Ironman (see story about Lew Hollander below). Below are some amazing older athletes with links to the stories - read on and be inspired!
Me and Lew at Ironman Florida 2014.