If you are a competition lover like I am, this has been an amazing summer to observe the absolute best in the world compete in a multitude of sports, from not only CrossFit to the wide variety featured in the recent Rio Olympics. And I have to say, though, my favorite is watching the performances of the “older” athletes. Although there is no “masters” section in the regular Olympics, there were quite a few athletes that were past the ages that we may normally associate with being in one’s “physical prime.” Many athletes in their mid-30’s on say that they are in the best shape of their lives right now. Who isn’t inspired by 41-year-old gymnasts and runners, a late 30’s beach volleyball player, or a 65-year old who can climb a rope better than most grade-schoolers?
We do not yet know how far we can push ourselves. One of the most famous instances is the case of the 4-minute-mile. Nobody thought it could happen – however, once that “barrier” was broken, it happens (for very fit people, anyway) on a regular basis. The same thing is happening now with older adults. With improved training and techniques, as well as advances in equipment, some are even surpassing their college performances.
More people are continuing to compete in sports for longer. It is more acceptable right now for people of any age to take up a sport that they have previously discontinued or start a new sport. The Baby Boomers are one of the largest groups of those beginning new sports population, once they have retired from a full-time job or when the children have moved out of the house – they have the disposable income as well as more time to spend on this type of endeavor.
If you are not yet a Master’s-Aged competitor, you can still expect plenty of support for your sports plans, throughout your lifetime. There are growing opportunities to compete, from local to worldwide level, and coaching is evolving with the changing demographic.
If you ARE a person wanting to take up a new sport or activity, the opportunities are endless. And the good news is, you need not to have necessarily been an athlete in your previous life to become one now. I have had the opportunity to work with people who are seasoned athletes as well as neophytes, who can compete at the same levels.
This is a guest post from Gina Sobrero, Ph.D., ACSM EP-C. As well as a Crossfit L-1 Coach and Consultant for several national fitness, nutrition, and supplement companies. Gina can be followed on Facebook and Twitter.
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