Fiercely Fit Over 50: Why Age Is Irrelevant for These Extreme Athletes

“There is nothing you cannot do.” Those are the words of 98 years-young Tao Porchon-Lynch, and she lives her life by them. Porchon-Lynch has been practicing yoga for seven decades and currently holds the title of world’s oldest yoga teacher—among many other impressive accomplishments as one of the most successful the senior athletes. Then there’s Sister Madonna Buder, 86. She has earned her nickname of “Iron Nun” via the 360+ triathlons and 45 Ironmans she’s completed. She holds records in several of these events. In fact, the Ironman organization had to create new categories and age groups to accommodate Buder’s unbeatable times. You may also recognize her from Nike’s Unlimited Youth campaign: At 65, Pat Gallant-Charette set out to swim the 21 mile stretch across the English Channel. Though she couldn’t complete it due to severe motion sickness, she swam for 10.5 hours. Robert Marchand, 104, is the world record-holder in his age group for cycling. Dottie Gray, 90, runs about 50 races a year. Flo Meiler is a track and field superstar at 79 years young, earning 15 world records and over 750 medals, 80 trophies and 150 ribbons in a variety of competitions. Yuichiro Miura, 83, has scaled Mount Everest—and reached the summit—three times, all when he was over age 70, and after four heart surgeries.

No question about it: Age is just a number

Yes, growing older can sometimes complicate wellness, but it should never be an excuse for inactivity—and these athletes are living proof that maintaining optimal physical health is more about a passionate commitment to an active lifestyle than the number of candles on their birthday cakes.

Getting Fit with Tech

Scaling Mount Everest like Yuichiro Miura doesn’t have to be your ultimate goal. As long as you’re moving and making a habit of it, you’re set—and these senior fitness tools can help you track your progress and maintain momentum.
  1. Johnson & Johnson Official 7 Minute Workout: This highly rated (free!) iPhone app is perfect for the person who’s just warming up to making fitness a priority. Grab a chair and customize the less-than-10-minute workout to your preferred intensity level, then sync your iTunes library for great tunes to keep you on your toes: that’s all you need for this simple routine.
  2. Lively Wearable: Our very own wearable tracker provides a daily step count, train-your-brain puzzles and games, health tips, social challenges, and more—all with the ability to reach caregivers or relatives at the simple touch of a button should you experience a fall while working out, or if you lock your keys in the car while taking a jog.
  3. MyFitnessPal: What you eat—and how much of it—is a big contributor to your overall health and wellbeing. Be more conscious about your food choices by counting the calories you consume daily—and those burned through exercise—with this free app.
  4. Yoga for Seniors: Limited mobility? The gentle daily stretches and exercises available in this iPad- and iPhone-based app may be your best starting point.

Working out while watching TV? It’s possible! Stay in shape with these heart-healthy everyday movements that don’t require a gym membership.

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Tagged with: extreme athletes

3 thoughts on “Fiercely Fit Over 50: Why Age Is Irrelevant for These Extreme Athletes

  1. Missing user
    February 27, 2017 at 12:22 pm

    Amazing, Shelley!

  2. Shelley Webb
    March 2, 2017 at 11:19 am

    I had luncheon the other day with Sister Madonna Buder and then coffee with Dexter Yates, who at 72 is still competing in Ironmans along with Sister.

  3. Michelle Seitzer
    March 2, 2017 at 11:19 am

    That’s so cool, Shelley! I’d love to meet her in person…both of them, really!

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