The picture often painted of senior citizens is one of a grandmother or grandfather type sitting around waiting for family members to stop by for a visit. However, this is no longer an accurate depiction. Today’s seniors are more active than ever before, discovering that they have the energy, gumption and willingness to try new things in their older age. As such, there are a number of very competitive and highly-regarded senior athletes that are making the case for being active in old age.
Ernestine Shepherd: The 75-year-old bodybuilding phenom didn’t even start working out until she was well into her 50s. She hated exercise and only started because her twin sister begged her to keep her motivated. Shepherd entered her first body building competition at the age of 71 and has been competing ever since. In 2012, she was entered into the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest female bodybuilder. She runs 10 miles every day, teaches fitness classes and wakes up every morning at 2:30 a.m. to begin her daily workout.
Jamie Moyer: This Major League Baseball (MLB) pitcher has earned the distinction as the oldest pitcher to win a MLB game. He has acknowledged the challenges of playing a young man’s game and all that it takes to stay on top once past a certain age. He made his debut in the league in 1986 and has been through numerous teams and changes over the course of his career. He has been quoted as saying that baseball is one of the hardest sports in the world, with regard to the stamina it takes to continue to play.
John Whittemore: This man was once billed as the oldest competing athlete in the world. He not only ran track, but also participated in the javelin and discus throws. He participated in his last competition at the age of 104. Had Whittemore made it to compete after his 104th birthday, the sporting world would have had to create an entirely new age category to accommodate him.
Martina Navratirola: This tennis champ has been a name in the sport for a long time, and even after turning 50, she has showed no signs of slowing down. She competes with tennis athletes half her age and manages to dominate with as much stamina and energy, using her experience to give her an edge. She has alluded to working harder, even than her younger counterparts in order to stay competitive from a physical and athletic perspective in the game.
Eileen Raschker: This 65-year-old athlete is actually an accountant by day, but runs every spare minute that she gets. Raschker has been compared to some of the track and field greats in terms of her athletic prowess. She has won more than 60 gold medals at the World Masters Athletics Championships and has a number of world records for both indoor and outdoor track events. Her running legs have proven that age is not enough to slow her down.
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