Lucky Strike in the Third

If you're thinking that no one can stop the march of time, then the Hawaii Ironman triathlon is a great event to show you otherwise. This ultratriathlon is a world-famous event that draws dedicated athletes who are well into their seventies and eighties. While it's one thing to enter, most of these senior triathletes finish this incredibly demanding event.

In case you don't remember, the Ironman consists of three back-to-back events: a 2.4-mile ocean swim, a 112-mile bicycle ride, and a 26.2-mile marathon run. Contrast these vivacious seniors to some of the older sedentary patients that Deidre sees— many of whom can barely stand up without assistance. What do you think the difference is? Attitude, mostly. The active 75-year-old refuses to give up participating in sports just because of his age while the other senior relents and lets nature take its course. As we've said, the essential difference takes place between the ears and in the heart. Willpower and enthusiasm are hard characteristics to define but quite easy to measure.

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Weight a Minute

The September 1999 issue of Runner's World magazine featured a story on world-record holder Erwin Jaskulski. Name doesn't ring a bell? In Honolulu, Mr. Jaskulski set a record by running the 100-meter dash in 24.01 seconds, shattering the previous best for the 95-plus age group by 14 seconds!

We are not expecting you to enter the Ironman. Heck, we would be hard-pressed to finish this event without months of diligent training. What we do want you to understand is that with minimal investment, you can enjoy continued independence and reduce potentially harmful health risks. We are all going to age. What we can and should do is remain independent as well as psychologically and physically healthy by participating in a well-structured cardiovascular and weight-training program. The choice is yours. However, if you've read this far, we're certain that you're eager to have at it.

The Least You Need to Know

>- Far too often we fail to realize that our health is not to be taken for granted.

>- Despite what many senior citizens think, a sound exercise program can retard the ravages of time.

>- Get help from a certified trainer and use light weights as you get started.

>- Acting your age has more to do with your attitude than it does with your chronological age.

Chapter 30

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