Lifestyle

These Senior Athletes are Aging with Attitude

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Year Three of the Senior Planet Sponsored Athlete program is off to an exciting start! From insightful blog posts, to live presentations on hula hooping, better balance, and outdoor exploration, it’s been a busy few months for our five amazing older adult athletes.

Today, May 25, 2022 is National Senior Health and Fitness Day® — and we’re celebrating in a few fun ways. First, check out the Q&A round-up below with our athletes. Then, join us this afternoon, May 25,  at 3:00pm EDT for a Fitness Day celebration with the team!

Q: What are some of the challenges of being an older adult athlete, and how have you adapted to stay active? What does “Aging with Attitude” mean to you?

Sally, 66: One of my biggest challenges is having the energy to participate in various activities and still perform well. I don’t have the stamina anymore to stay out surfing for long periods of time, and if I do push the limits, I suffer the consequences later. I’ve learned to accept that my body can’t do what it used to do, and so I pace myself with my daily physical activities. I also have to make sure I get the proper daily nutrition and sleep. That takes a conscious effort on my part to eat well and establish a good sleeping pattern.

“Aging with Attitude” is living life to the fullest and enjoying every minute of it, the struggles and success alike.

Attitude is so important in life! I interpret “Aging with Attitude” as growing older while maintaining the idea that chronological age is not important. It’s having the perspective that we should embrace our age and where we are in life, no matter what others or society thinks. “Aging with Attitude” is living life to the fullest and enjoying every minute of it, the struggles and success alike.

Paul, 68: As I’ve gotten older, my mind tends to stay in that realm of “youthful reasoning.” But life’s obligations and choices — as well as normal aging physiology — impacts my available time to stay active and perform at those same “back-in-the day” physical levels. I adapt by discovering time-savers in my daily tasks which give me more opportunities to play! I also utilize more supportive physical exercises to keep aches and injuries at bay.

Aging is a constant, but the essential attitude or mindset is dynamic.

Aging is a constant, but the essential attitude or mindset is dynamic. I believe we can control at least some of the potentially negative factors which can accompany aging. One key in “walking the walk” is to stay as active as safely possible in your favorite physical activities. I recommend at least one back-up activity (bicycling for me!) which naturally works different sets of coordination and muscle groups. A second aspect of attitude is to stay positive and upbeat toward others. No one likes a nasty person!

MsFAITH!, 62: Growing up, I remember seeing family, church, and community members over the age of 45 start to slow down in almost every area of life. The older people around me moved from exercising, dancing and fun activities, to sitting on the couch or porch! I vowed not to be like them.

I still remember the day I called my grandmother (she was age 82 and I was 33 at that time) and she told me she had been playing basketball with the children earlier that day!

I wanted to be like my paternal grandmother who taught preschoolers at her sister’s academy well into her 80s. I still remember the day I called my grandmother (she was age 82 and I was 33 at that time) and she told me she had been playing basketball with the children earlier that day! I said to myself ‘I’m going to still be active like that when I’m in my 70s and 80s.’ And that’s what “Aging with Attitude” means to me.

Keo, 85: Earlier this year, I started searching the web for stories of elite elderly persons and found many older adults who are stronger than I am. That changed my attitude toward the pursuit of strength and power. All exercise is good, but for us older athletes, it is essential to gain and keep strength.

I don’t always want to exercise, but being in this mindset makes it is easier to grab the barbells and continue building strength.

The main challenge faced by older adults is to overcome the common advice to just ‘take it easy, to act your age, to be careful.’ When I made the decision to start “Aging with Attitude,” I abandoned the idea of elderly fragility and changed my approach to pumping iron. I don’t always want to exercise, but being in this mindset makes it is easier to grab the barbells and continue building strength.

Carolyn, 73: My biggest challenge of being an older adult athlete is finding a friend to be active with me on a regular basis. To overcome this challenge, I engage in many of my activities alone, but plan fun group activities, such as hiking, so that my active older friends can join me.

“Aging with Attitude” means that I have an attitude of ‘Yes! I got this.

“Aging with Attitude” means that I have an attitude of ‘Yes! I got this. I am older and highly seasoned and I savor in the spices of life!’ I radiate a positive attitude about aging and the joys that accompany this stage of life that I refer to as “elderhood.” I am wiser, I am healthy, and I live in harmony within environments of positive energy. I deliberately choose where and with whom I engage at this age. I have earned the right and the privilege to make those choices.

Visit seniorplanet.org/fitnessday2022 to join our athletes today at 3:00pm EDT. Reading this after May 25th? Keep an eye on the Senior Planet YouTube channel for the recorded video of this session.


In need of a little motivation to get moving? Join our daily health and wellness programs, stay tuned to the latest news and articles from SeniorPlanet.org by signing up for The Orbit weekly newsletter, and follow us on social media (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram) to get to know these awe-inspiring athletes. You might just find a new love for fitness along the way!

Sean Cruse is the Communications Manager at Senior Planet & OATS from AARP. He has worked in nonprofit and social good communications for almost 10 years. Sean is involved with all things Senior Planet communications, from email newsletters (sign up here!) to creative projects. He also co-leads the Senior Planet Sponsored Athlete program and loves helping our team of amazing senior athletes share their stories.

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