I’ve talked about my love of hill sprints before in a previous article. They are without a doubt one of my favourite forms of cardiovascular exercise. I’m also fortunate enough to live in a neighbourhood that has a variety of different hills to run in close proximity. Typically, I run these hills after work on the weekdays and in the early morning on the weekends. As such, I have come to meet a lot of different people in my neighbourhood as they routinely see me running up and down their streets. They always get a kick out of seeing me run the hills and sometimes they ask me if I’m training for some kind of event or competition. Some of them will even shout some words of encouragement if I’m looking particularly tired, which is always a great motivational tool.
However, not all of the comments I’ve received have been positive. In fact, on several occasions I’ve gotten comments that have struck me as being particularly strange. These comments almost exclusively come from men and women in their 40’s and 50’s. After watching me sprint up the hill they will often say the following sorts of things:
“Wow! That looks like it’s hard. I wish I could do that!”
“Man I’m jealous of you young guys, I used to do that kind of stuff when I was younger too. I wish I could do that stuff now but I’m too old.”
“Just watching you gets my heart racing. I’m pretty sure If I tried doing that at my age I bet I’d have a heart attack!”
Whenever I get these kinds of comments I usually just laugh them off, but what I really want to say to these people is that anyone can do what I’m doing. It’s really not that difficult at all. Even if you started off by walking up the hill, with enough consistency and effort you would eventually be able to run sprints. It doesn’t matter if you are old, overweight and haven’t seen the inside of a gym in 30 years, you can do what I’m doing!
I find it very sad that these people have thrown in the towel. Just because they are not in shape now they believe that they will never be in shape. They believe that they are too old to get into shape but the reality is that couldn’t be further from the truth. The beauty of exercise is that it doesn’t discriminate based on age. You can start at any time and reap the rewards, so save your excuses.
Over the years I have come across plenty of examples of men and women who made the decision to exercise regularly at a later stage in life. Guess what? These people made tremendous progress regardless of their age and they were certainly much better off for it.
Recently, I came across an excellent example of this. The following video is of a 64 year old man that didn’t begin exercising until he was 56 years old. As you can see the man can complete feats that men half his age would struggle with. What makes this example particularly striking is that not only did he start a dedicated exercise regimen later in life and make phenomenal progress, but he did so using the most basic form of exercise: bodyweight training.
There is no secret formula to his success. No fancy gimmicks or routines. It’s just plain hard work and dedication with the basics, something that we have reiterated here in the past.
And just so you don’t think this is just a one-off, here are a bunch of other examples of men defying age with exercise:
53 year old doing muscle-ups:
71 year old man doing standing ab rollouts:
91 year old powerlifter (he didn’t start lifting weights until he was 60!)
Lastly, I want to end off with an inspiring TED Talk. I’m sure many of you are familiar with TED talks but this following presentation is particularly noteworthy as it is given by a 93 year old man and is entitled, “Why bodybuilding at age 93 is a great idea”. It’s about 15 minutes long but well worth your time.
These men are living proof that not only can you maintain a healthy and fit body late in life, but that you can also achieve a healthy and fit body even if you begin well past your “prime”. It may be a tired cliche, but these men are a true testament that age is just a number.
Now go tear it up!