By the time you’re reading this, the Rio Olympics will probably be done ‘n’ dusted for another four years enabling us lounge-chair experts to resume our everyday lives. It’s amazing, given the time spent by most of us watching various events and our preparedness to offer our expert opinions, a FAQ of returning-home competitors will be ‘didja win?’ (As ‘Red’ Sanders said, ‘Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing’.) And, if you define winning as being the first person across the finish line or the competitor with the best score, the answer to the question from most will be a resounding ‘NO!’
The good news for all of us oldies is that the Olympics may have instilled in us the need to exercise and get fit. For the next few weeks, gym membership, demand for personal trainers, dietary advice, and the sale of sports drinks, can be expected to increase. The most popular sources of fitness generation can expected to be those activities that rely on someone else to provide the necessary, short-term motivation. [A mate of mine (Paul) once got sacked by his personal trainer who tired of having to be the one who ‘coaxed’ Paul out of bed each day.)
You can, of course, become an active participant in a full range of athletic activities. (To date, science has been hard pressed to establish a clear cause-and-effect link between strenuous exercise and heart damage.) Studies of involvement by oldies – both male and female – show that they have become stronger and more active, rather than less, as the years go by. And, with attention, their bodies can continue to learn new skills.
The number of older athletes is growing with the aging of populations. If you’re keen on an organised activity, there are masters and veterans competitions in many countries including Australia and the Senior Olympics in North America. Or, if your preference is activities of a less-strenuous kind, you can try going for a walk, weeding the garden, or whatever gets your pulse going. And, given that most oldies prefer to be a Jack of all sports, there seems to be nothing stopping us from getting started.
A key quality is always going to be stickability. No one else, other than you, can be expected to provide the motivation to stick at it. Gym membership declines after three months and personal trainers soon tire of being whip-crackers. In the end, it all comes down to you-know-who.