Fit Older Adults in the News

August 4, 2011

50-somethings who are fitter than in their 20s

A recent poll showed that 50-somethings were exercising more and eating better now than they did in their 20s. Researchers suggest that without the demands of raising a young family, older adults can devote more free time to looking after their health. In fact 70% of respondents reported working out more than they did in their youth. A better awareness of the importance of a healthy lifestyle helped some respondents to feel even more energetic in their 50s than at their 20s.

Louise Withy, from Engage Mutual, the company that sponsored the poll said the study showed many perceptions of older people were outdated.¬†She said: “It’s great that so many people feel so fit in their fifties and above. It challenges many of the preconceptions around ageing and is good news when we consider that in light of increased life expectancy, many more of us will be spending a larger proportion of our life ‘over 50’.”

Below are three older adults who also challenge preconceptions around aging and show that you can be fit at any age.

Helen Mirren Voted Body of the Year

Photo by Caroline Bonarde Ucci

A recent poll by LA Fitness awarded 66-year-old Helen Mirren with the Body of the Year award. She beat out supermodels like 48-year-old Elle Macpherson and actresses half her age like Kelly Brook and Cheryl Crow. LA Fitness marketing director, Tony Orme, said: “It’s great to see the public celebrating bodies of all shapes and sizes, and proving that you really can look fabulous over 40 and 50.” Photos of Helen Mirren on the beach in a bikini in 2008 showed off her great figure.

Man Beats His Own Record in Ultramarathon

Running 217km is tough at any age, under any circumstances. But 75-year-old, Jack Denness, managed to complete the course in 59 hours in the middle of summer in Death, Valley California; known as one of the hottest places on the earth. It’s no wonder the Badwater Ultramarathon is called the “world’s toughest footrace.” Denness started the race on a Monday morning and didn’t finish until midnight on Wednesday. During the three days he only slept a few hours and kept his energy up with sports drinks, energy bars, nuts and dried fruit provided by his support team.

Denness already held the record for oldest person to complete the Badwater Ultramarathon at age 70. Since starting to run at age 45, after quitting smoking, he has run over 150 marathons. While racing he raised over $150,000 for charities like the Cerebal Palsy Care.

The Iron Nun Planning To Challenge Her Own Record

Bking during TriathlonAlready the female world-record holder for oldest woman to complete an Ironman Triathlon at age 79, Sister Madonna Buder is planning to challenge her own record on August 28th at the Subaru Ironman Canada course in Penticton, BC. The challenging course includes a 3.8km swim, followed by a 180km bike ride and running a full marathon (42.2km). We wrote about Sister Madonna Buder last year when she tried to beat her record but was unable to because of a wet suit issue. Having just turned 81 she is optimistic for this race in spite of suffering hypothermia in 3 important races last year. We wish her the best!

Do you find you have more time for exercise now that you’re older?

Do you know of any inspiring older adults in the news or important news for the 50+ population? Let us know in the comments or email us at

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  • LeeAnn Langdon

    I love stories about older adults pushing their fitness limits and blasting the perception that you can’t be fit after 50. But sometimes the stories about extreme fitness (ultramarathoners and triathletes) can actually be discouraging, since most of us will never devote the time and effort it takes to become so fit. I’m inspired by the beautiful silver-haired woman who walks several times per week at my local park. She has perfect posture, and she moves like she means it. She doesn’t hold any world records, but she’s beautiful, vibrant and dynamic! This is the kind of fitness we can all enjoy at any age.

  • Norrie Hunter

    Hello LeeAnn,

    Time is important to anybody over fifty years and time spent keeping in physical shape does not need to take up a lot of an individual’s day. Devoting around a half hour to an hour most days will ensure vitality and vigour whilst enjoying a healthy, fulfilling life.
    Cardiovascular activity combined with some strength training will go a long way towards achieving the necessary fitness associated with functional awareness. This in it’s small way is the credible effort most people can aspire to and does not require extensive application to reach their objective. Doing what you can is the starting block to build on…

  • Kelly

    Hi LeeAnn,

    Thanks for your comment. The profiles are meant to be inspiring but I see how they could be a bit discouraging. It’s important for people to realize that being fit and healthy doesn’t require you to participate in endurance sports like triathlons and ultra-marathoners. Fitness should help you with your everyday movements and overall health. I see that’s the kind of thing your promote with your personal training which is great.

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