Forget aqua-aerobics and gentle yoga. Being over 50 doesn’t mean you have to damp down your love of adrenalin and danger when it comes to sport. Here are 3 examples of people who didn’t let a tiny thing like age stop them from putting their bodies on the line and coming out of top.
If this doesn’t inspire you, then nothing will.
Mixed Martial Arts- MMA- is a sport that literally looks like a legal death dance from a dystopian sci-fi movie. Exciting and incredibly physical, competitors are essentially in a cage, battling it out with any legal fighting move they can bring to the table. Judo, Muay Thai, Wrestling, Ju Jitsu, Tae Kwan Do, Boxing, strangulation…ok…not that, but nearly, are all inside the rules. Referees do their best to ensure no one actually requires an ambulance, although that can and does happen. One would think this is a sport designed and participated in only by those whose bones knit overnight.
Meet Dan Savern.
Now 62, Dan is semi-retired, although he actually stopped regularly competing in MMA at the age of 59. He still gets his short shorts out every so often these days. His nickname is ‘The Beast’, which seems about right. He is 6’2 and weighs 253 pounds, or just over 115 kilograms. He holds a 5th degree black belt in Judo, 2nd degree black belt in Jujutsu and is a 1st Razryad international master in Sambo.
He has represented his home country of America in Wrestling and was an Olympic Alternative twice. Plus, he has been in the movies!! Hollywood loves a giant, lethal man with a bit of salt and pepper action.
Does this make you want to take up Martial Arts? It should. These disciplines are great for balance, muscle building, bone strengthening, and your image.
Body Building is a sport that conjures up pictures of overbuilt 20 somethings full of testosterone- possibly donated by a horse, certainly not their own- and covered in bronze paint and shiny bikinis, and that’s just the women. Female or male, body building does not instantly appear as a sport for the more…mature…physiques, and yet…
Meet 84-year-old Ernestine Shepherd.
Yes, this lady was born in June, 1936, and this is what she looks like now. Her story is amazing. She was a 56-year-old out of shape school secretary when she and her sister decided to join a gym because their clothes were no longer fitting. Not long after their pact, her sister suddenly died of a brain aneurism, and Ernestine was devastated. After a period of deep mourning and depression, she decided to start up her fitness regime again in honour of her sister. At the age of 71, she competed for the first time in a body building competition. Since then, she has gone on to inspire thousands of others to see age only as a number and written a couple of books along the way. At the age of 84, she still runs over 120 kilometres a week, sticks to a high protein healthy diet, and continues to lift weights and to ‘build’ her body.
Are weights good for you too? You bet!! Lifting weights is sensational for any body, but especially a body over 50. You will tone and build muscle, improve joint strength and lay extra calcium into your bones. Strong bones, strong you!!
Speaking of bones.
Breaking them is a major hassle as we age, but then, being boring is also a major hassle. Ah, the old ‘devil and the deep blue sea’ argument.
Perhaps the risk of a broken bone should be seen as less dangerous and more of a conversation starter?
Meet Neal Unger.
Neal is a 65 skateboarder who never went pro- but is much loved and respected in the world-wide skater community. He has had plenty of sponsors and such over the years, and, although many of contemporaries have chosen to move away from the potential for splintered wrists, Neal still embraces the sport to this day.
He started surfing when he was a kid in the early 60s, but then discovered that a skateboard was more his thing, and his passion has never wavered. Perhaps that is what keeps him young at heart? Passion is everything. Neal says he is aware of his age, he just doesn’t let it affect his love for his sport.
Should you take up skateboarding? Well, firstly, do you have good medical insurance? If yes, then, YES!! Good balance, hand eye coordination and athleticism, it sounds perfect. Do it.
In fact, anything you would like to try, at any age, you should do. Don’t let others dictate your boundaries and don’t let age limit your dreams. You may never win a medal but you will get a thrill, and that is often enough.