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5 Senior Athletes Who Are Going the Distance

By Lesa Hardiman, 6:34 pm on

Though many people become less active during their senior years, more than a few amazing athletes have not allowed age to slow them down. Grand Rapids, MI, home care professionals discuss the lives and accomplishments of 5 incredible older American athletes and the steps they take to continue engaging in a high level of physical activity.

1. Paul Tetrick 

This great American athlete is 85 years old, but he is a long-time runner who continues to motivate other seniors as well as athletes from the younger generation. Tetrick began bike racing at age 60 due to issues with his knees. He has won more than 12 USA Cycling Time Trial championships and hopes to inspire people to remain active, mentally alert, and physically fit in their senior years. Tetrick currently resides in Colorado and trains 6 days out of the week, a couple of hours on each day, which is why he is able to continue racing at this stage of his life. 

2. Sister Madonna Buder 

Although she began running when she was 48, Sister Madonna Buder is still racing today at the age of 86. She is the oldest person to ever finish an Ironman Triathlon. Sister Madonna Buder is also a senior Olympic record holder, and she does not see herself slowing down anytime soon. In fact, Nike featured her in one of its 2016 Olympics advertisements. To stay active, Buder takes morning runs, rides her bicycle, and does swimming routines. 

3. Louis Self 

Self is a 70-year-old athlete from Arizona who began kiteboarding at the age of 58. Kiteboarding is an extreme sport that not many seniors embrace or conquer. However, Self can actually jump over 20 feet of water. To continue participating in kiteboarding, he uses a heavy bag to stay in shape. For a short period, Self was a boxer, which is where he created some of the training he continues to use today. 

4. Edith Connor 

When she was 77, the Guinness Book of World Records declared Connor the oldest competitive female bodybuilder. She is now 81 and still competing. To keep her body ready for competition, Connor goes to the gym at least 3 times weekly, and she proudly completes 2 strength-training sessions every week.

5. Jacinto Bonilla

Bonilla is the oldest living CrossFit athlete. At age 77, he still pushes himself to work out and stay physically fit. He hopes to live until at least age 100, and wants to be doing 100 reps at that time. The CrossFit brand named one of their products after this senior athlete, “The Jacinto Storm.” Although Bonilla was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2008, he continues to be a formidable CrossFit competitor, and the oldest person to compete in the CrossFit Games.

Not every senior can be expected to engage in the same level of physical activity as such accomplished athletes, but there are plenty of simple and effective exercises your elderly loved one can still perform. If your loved one needs encouragement to stay fit, reach out to Grand Rapids Home Care Assistance. Our caregivers can assist with exercise and various daily tasks, and we also provide comprehensive Parkinson’s, stroke, and dementia care Grand Rapids, MI, families can rely on. Call a Care Manager today at 616-243-0835 to learn more.