We’ve done a lot of writing about how exercise can be the best way of ageing successfully. We’ve written about how exercise can be medicine. We’ve written about Superagers, who don’t suffer the usual decrepitude of ageing, even when examination shows that they have the physical symptoms that mean they should be suffering from dementia, for instance, but they aren’t. We’ve described exercise in age as the true fountain of youth and we don’t intend to stop now. Because there is even more evidence of the truth of this, in a new study which shows how exercise operates at a fundamental level within the body to alter the commonly accepted course of ageing.
As 82 year old Professor Norman Lazarus, a co-author of the report and at the same time a subject of it, said ”If exercise was a pill, everyone would be taking it”.
At SGSC we endlessly write about the importance of keeping the body fit and strong in order to perform the extreme sports we all love. Within that message is the idea that by challenging themselves through these sports and activities and keeping their body in good shape to meet these challenges people will also feel good mentally, on top of the physical benefits that they will experience.
Along the same lines, and of great interest to us, there has been a study by Dr Emily Rogalski, professor of Cognitive Neurology at North Western University in Chicago, of what she calls “super-agers”. These are people aged in their 80’s, 90’s and even up to 100 who don’t exhibit the usual age-related decline in brain performance. Her study involved following a group of 74 super-agers over several years, and these people were found to exhibit the mental sharpness and memory capacity normally associated with 50 year olds - albeit that some of the them were shown in post-mortem examination (10 of them agreed to have this done) to have the physical symptoms of dementia.
Wolfgang Russ, known as Wolfi, is a 76-year-old German surfer who has lived and surfed in Cornwall for many years. Wolfi surfs every day when conditions are right, at Watergate Bay his home break. We filmed him talking about his life last November, but will have to wait until this coming spring before filming him surfing - because during the winters he escapes the cold Cornish conditions by surfing in Tobago! In the meantime, click "Read more" to view a clip from the interview and get an idea about this amazing man.
We first came across Louis Gomez in an online video. He contacted us recently and was happy to tell us his story - here it is.
Who are you, what do you do, how old are you?
I am Louis Gómez a 79 year old retiree from Miami, Florida. I retired at 55 from Chase Bank where I worked in IT.
How long have you been involved in Kitesurfing? How did it begin?
I learned to kiteboard when I was 70 years old and I am currently foilboarding also.
Some new research, led by Kristen Beavers, an assistant professor of health and exercise science at Wake Forest University, sheds some light on two important and interlinked issues that concern Silver Grey athletes - keeping a healthily low body weight while maintaining adequate muscle mass for both your sports and for your health and quality of life.
This new study suggests the way to go is to combine weight training with a calorie-controlled diet and in this way to preserve lean muscle mass which can be lost through aerobic workouts.
People don't all become Silver Grey athletes in the same way or for the same reasons. In the case of Pat Gallant-Charette it was a sudden death that started her on the journey which led to her numerous records for distance swimming.
Pilates - once viewed as the domain of 'yummy mummies' and celebrity lifestyle glitterati, this hundred year old discipline is gaining momentum as being a hugely beneficial form of exercise - no matter your age or fitness level. With followers from tennis star Andy Murray, to silver grey writer and broadcaster Joan Bakewell, Pilates is the buzzword on everyone's lips....but it has been around for years.
Originally known as 'Controlology', the system of body weight resistance exercise training was developed by Joseph H Pilates, and refined during his years as a prisoner of war.
If you’ve ever thought that it was too late to start exercising, too late to get more strength and/or fitness as you get older think again.
A new study from the Mayo Clinic, led by Kirsten Coffman, has found that if Silver Greys want to start even a vigorous exercise regime, there's a good chance their lungs will be able to keep up with the pace.
Dear Josh Glancy,
We have to take issue with you over something you wrote in your article for the Sunday Times Magazine of June 11th. In the article you wrote that “… technology makes physical strength ever more obsolete…” and we have to say that we find that a very dangerous statement.
Ernestine Shepherd, at one time the oldest competitive female body-builder, titles which she won in 2010 and 2011, has passed 80 - and she’s still going strong.
No longer competing, she still trains in the gym 4 times per week, as well as doing cardio exercise every day - up to 80 miles per week - and it shows. You can’t really believe that she’s 80.
If you ever had any doubt about the effectiveness of exercise on the condition of your body have a look at this - a number of women athletes taking part in age-group competition in the Crossfit Open 2017, all of them over 50 and the oldest of them in their sixties.
There's a lot of talking so the parts to watch - the amazing women athletes themselves - are at 1' 10", 1' 50", 2' 45", 3' 45", 4' 40" and 5' 30".
The Fountain of Youth. It’s an idea that has been around since the beginning of human history, probably, certainly since early civilisation, with roots in Greek mythology and written about as early as the the 5th century BCE, by the Greek writer Herodotus. He described it as a spring that could restore the youth of anyone who drinks from it or bathes in its waters. That story described a quite literal return to being young. The question is, is it really necessary to be young in order to be youthful, or at least in order to have some of the energy that one has when younger.
Apparently not - at least, not according to a report into some research from the Mayo Clinic.
5 years’ ago in 2012, we reported on French cyclist Robert Marchand’s age-group record for cycling 100 kilometres. Now at the age of 105, he is still going strong and still setting records.
In January this year he cycled 22.547 kilometres (14.01 miles) in one hour. Not only is this a record, even the Over-105-Years age group is new, created especially for him.
As the saying goes, it isn’t the first time and it certainly won’t be the last time .... that we get research that shows that the benefits of exercise go beyond muscles and up as far as your brain.
Here is yet more evidence that exercise can reduce the risk of developing Alzheimers disease. It comes from a study carried out at McMaster University in Canada by Jennifer Heisz, an assistant professor in the department of kinesiology.
…OR...“The Underappreciated Role of Muscle in Health and Disease”...
…which is the title of some research published about 10 years ago, and which is particularly relevant to many topics on this site.
Beat Kammerlander is someone who has pushed the boundaries of his sport, sport climbing. Having begun as a teenager in his native Austria, he is still climbing well into his fifties. He is particularly known for developing sport climbing in the Alps.
The German gymnast Johanna Quaas is officially the oldest active gymnast in the world. In 2013, she was entered into the Guinness Book of World Records for that achievement.
At 90, in 2015, she was still going strong.
We found this short film about 60-year-old skateboarder Neal “The Dude” Unger. We really love his attitude to sport and age. When he talks about what he loves about skateboarding, we couldn’t put it better ourselves.
The Paralympics have just finished and - wow! What impressive and inspirational athletes, both in their performances and in their attitude. These athletes have to deal with great challenges in their lives, whether from a congenital condition or a disability caused by an event. Such determination, such guts, all channelled into becoming elite athletes performing at the highest level!
A strong swell, and a reasonably strong on-shore wind - to surf or not to surf, that was the question for us as developing surfers. The answer came to to us in the form of 56-year-old RNLI beach lifeguard Steve Stritch, and as you can see from our short clip of him surfing, he said “Yes, yes, yes. Come on in, the water’s lovely!”
So we did, it was, and afterwards we got the chance to tell Steve that he had inspired us to take the plunge, and to ask him a bit about himself.
Here are two videos about women surfers, one 68 and the other 71 years old. They both surf at an age that used to be unusual, at least, but which is less so now. On top of the fact that they both love riding the waves, there’s a very interesting difference between them. One has been surfing all her life, and the other only took up the sport at the age of 53.
68 year old Genie and 71 year old Gwyn