My wake-up call came in the form of a medical check-up that I had in my mid-thirties when I complained to my doctor about lower back pain, acid reflux, and a few other small ailments. As he responded to me half-jokingly that I was “on schedule,” I started to realize that maybe I needed to take better care of myself. It turned out, that with a little physical therapy and a tweak to my diet, I felt healthier and better. In fact, by the time I hit 40, I felt younger and better than I had since my late twenties.
The value of that medical exam was that, clearly, whatever exercise and health care measures had worked in my twenties would not carry me through my forties and beyond. I needed to employ new strategies if I was going to stay feeling young and healthy.
When I met Brian Schwartz, who created the publishing company 50 Interviews, Inc., I found a way to uncover these strategies. Brian’s concept is that authors select a topic that they are passionate about and interview 50 people who are successful in that area. By surrounding myself with individuals over age 50 that I admired, I could build a network of people who were adept at sustaining strength and wellness throughout the years. This would ensure my own success. The ideas found in this book represent information and lessons gathered from 50 athletes over 50 years old, who I interviewed. Their experiences and insights are useful for people of all ages.
I knew there must be some way to keep enjoying good health through physical activity in the important later years of my life. What mindset or approaches did I need to use? Even a casual look at athletes in their forties, fifties, sixties and beyond, made me believe that we can continue to make progress with our exercise―and in some cases yield big returns from sports―well after what would be considered over the hill. Could it be that we expect too little of ourselves?
Initially, my goal in writing my first book was to understand the challenges facing older athletes who tend to train less, which results in a drop in their performance. I hoped to uncover some insights into how some of them stay at it to perform at high levels. However, I soon realized that this book would become much more than that. My subjects taught me lessons that shifted my focus from athletic performance, to something else that allows us to live a strong and healthy life as we age
As I discovered the fascinating stories of my subjects and the parallels between them, I couldn’t wait for my alarm clock to go off each morning so that I could meet more athletes over 50. This was truly a life-changing experience, because I was immersing myself in a widening pool of knowledge developed by resilient, older athletes who demonstrate their fitness every single day.
What I learned from the over-age-50 athletes is invaluable to me, as it will certainly help me to secure an active life in the future. I believe that the knowledge that they shared is a great asset to anyone who wants to sustain a healthy, active life.
If you could interview 50 people to you on a topic you are passionate about, who would they be?