No. 762



The other day I heard a somewhat humorous story. This elderly man woke up one morning and thought he was dead. He did not hurt anywhere. One of the definite signs of getting older is that you discover you have muscles and joints that you never knew you had. Any kind of work or strenuous exercise, out of your regular daily routine, produces a soreness and discomfort that stays around until you find some kind of relief, or enough time passes for you to recover. I have always been an active person, participating in sports, gardening and just doing things around the house that keeps my body healthy.
However, things changed for me about a year ago, when I had a second triple bypass surgery and was soon placed on an exercise program, first at the hospital cardiac therapy unit and then the local fitness center. Blue Cross has a program called Silver Sneakers, and they will pay your fitness center dues if you have a Blue Cross policy. They found out that it’s a lot cheaper to pay fitness center dues than hospital and doctors bills. I try to go at least three times a week to walk on the treadmill, use several exercise machines and then some weightlifting for muscle tone.
I have said all that to say this: as we get older it’s important to keep our bodies healthy and physically fit if we want to stay around for a long time. Recently, I received a book by Dr. Don McGrath titled, “50 Athletes Over 50” that is jam-packed with useful information that will inspire any person, regardless of age, to maintain a great physical body. Dr. McGrath, who lives with his wife, Sylvia, in Fort Collins, Colo., is a leading advocate for those who want to be fit and healthy later in life through exercise and sports.
We are each different, but one thing I have noticed is that older people, from 65 to 100, maintain a healthy lifestyle that includes exercise of some sort. Most people who have participated in athletics of some sort earlier in life continue with the same sport or adapt to another sport, but they stay active. A lot of time and effort went into Don’s book and he actually made the contacts and interviewed 50 older athletes to learn what motivated them and how their experience could benefit others.
There is a wide range of sports or activities involved that are different from your typical sports jock. Here is a partial list: distance runner, surfer, outrigger canoeist, bodybuilder, martial artist, triathlete, mountain unicyclist, dancer, rock climber, Nordic skier, weight lifter, race walker, handball player, power lifter, snowshoe racer and many more. Then there’s “Banana” George Blair, who is still water skiing barefoot at the age of 94. George has set several records, including being the oldest person to ever barefoot water ski and also the first to ever water ski barefoot on all seven continents.
This is a great book for anyone who would like to see the countless possibilities of either continuing a sport, either in competition or just to maintain fitness, and what it can do for you personally. The advice is simple. Consult your doctor, and if you want to lead a long and healthy life, get involved and stay involved in some type of regular exercise program. This book will show you and teach you why this is important. A lot of people think they are too old to start and that they are over the hill. The truth is, we can’t be over the hill until we first make it to the top.
Again, the book is “50 Athletes Over 50” by Dr. Don McGrath. Google it.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a public speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034. To begin a bookcase literacy project visit You won’t go wrong helping a needy child.)