It seems that in the last few months there has been a lot of news regarding senior-citizen-aged people. Maybe since I have reached a little depth in that age category I pay a more attention to what the media is saying.
Looking back to my youthful years, the magic age for being older was 40.
Once you reached 40 years it was all down hill from there. You were told be sure you got a medical check up before you started an exercise program, and if you start exercising, be sure you take it easy so you do not strain your muscles, or your heart.
I reached 40 years and was still active and working out, so they moved the old age category up to 50 years before you had to take it easy.
We still have a Masters category in running for runners in the 40 years age and above so the old standard is not gone yet. In early races here in San Marcos, the upper age limit was 40 years plus since nobody, or at least only a very few runners, over that age came to our races.
One gentleman mentioned that the “older” runners don’t come because you do not have an age group for them. He said the runners over 40 and 50 years are out there but you have to have age categories for them.
We added age groups up to 60-plus years to see if the gentleman was right. It turns out he was right and the age groups were filled with these senior citizens. There were more men in those age groups than women in those early years.
Lately, the trend has shifted and in many of the upper age limits there are more women than men runners.
For the Moe’s Better Half Marathon, the organizers figured that runners in the 50’s and 60’s years old have the same problem that the 40 years old runners have against the younger runners. With the addition of a Senior Masters Overall Champion category in our races for runners who are over 50 years old now have a chance for an award.
After that comes the Grand Masters Overall Champion category for runners in the 60 years old and over. In some of the larger races the age category has reached 90 years and above. And more than likely there will be a few runners winning an award in that age category.
In many sports other than running, there are now age categories up to 75 and over years old.
There are softball leagues where the youngest age to play is 65-years old. One player at the young age of 70 years old in the league was complaining to me that he felt that the team should have some of these “younger guys” who were only 65 play the outfield and let the older guys move to the infield. All I could think of was that if he was 70 years old and still chasing fly balls in the outfield he shouldn’t complain.
Records in weightlifting are kept for ages 70 years and above.
Swimming has a very large Masters Swimming organization and is very popular.
Golf and tennis both have a Masters tour and even have the professional tour for former elite athletes.
Looking at the number of these senior citizens working out, and walking around the San Marcos Activity Center every day, the local population here in San Marcos is very active.
It seems there is a large number of walkers around the neighborhoods in San Marcos. Some walk with friends and others help keep the pet dog in shape as well as they go for their walk.
All in all, the change in activity levels has changed from being that old age of 40 years and beginning the slide to a nursing home to running long distances, being active in sports, and just enjoying the years in physical exercise and fitness. There may be a few more aches and pains to contend with, and recovery from a hard workout may take a day or two longer, but there is nothing like moving to keep you younger in life.
Dr. Maurice Johnson is a former professor at Texas State University in the Department of Health and Exercise Science. His column appears every Sunday in the Daily Record.