I read a refreshing piece of news today, ‘80 … and still going strong,’ about an 80 years old lady (picture). You may ask, “What can be so refreshing about the news of an old lady?” You may not agree with me, but this news not only provides a positive and inspiring read, it is also much more uplifting than all the political and economic news in the printed paper.
When a lot of men and women around her age have already resigned to fate and to some of the myths of aging, Madam Kong Sin Sim continues with her almost daily workout routine of stretches, light weight training and swimming at the gym. According to her 47 years old son, she is a bundle of energy and constantly encouraging them to exercise!
Not only that, “….her doctor has declared her to be healthy and free from conditions such as high-blood pressure and diabetes…” She credited all that to more than 20 years of regular exercise and eating right.
One common myth of aging is the increase of dependency on others as we become physically incapacitated. This is certainly not true. According to the University of Pittsburgh, Institute of Aging, “Helplessness and dependency are not characteristic of old age. About 87 percent of adults over 65 are able to cope more than adequately with the demands of everyday living.”
Ninety is the new 70, according to a report in usnews.com. The Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (BLSA), a 50 years ongoing study involving 3,000 seniors, found a reduction in heart attacks among older men who took up a high-intensity activity like swimming or running. Not only that, older exercisers also experience less shortness of breath and fatigue.
From the above reports, doesn’t it make sense for us to start exercising today? However, if you are a senior and wants to start an exercise routine, it is very important to first consult your doctor to see if you are fit for exercising, or if any precautions need to be taken.
I believe that most of us will have this question in our mind: What would be the age when one would be considered too old to take on new challenges or to learn new tricks? Yes, this is a trick question and the answer is pretty straight forward; one is never too old to take on new challenges or to learn new tricks.
With this new perspective in mind, let me share with you the story of Cliff Young, which I believe our Australian friends would be very familiar with. He was the potato farmer who inspired the whole nation. At the age of 61, he participated in the first Westfield Sydney to Melbourne Ultra Marathon (875 kilometers, 544 miles) in 1983, competed against world-class athletes and won the race in record breaking time; trimming almost two days off the record for any previous run between Sydney and Melbourne. Cliff Young continued to run more than 20,000 kilometres during his competitive career. Cliff was like anyone of us; a humble, average man, who undertook an extraordinary feat and became a national sensation.
Whoever is still saying he/she is too old to do something or to learn new trick, he/she may want to adopt this new perspective: we are never too old to take on new challenges or to learn new tricks. I will have to remind myself constantly too.