Monday, October 08, 2007

What Is the Magic Age to Retire from Sports?

Throughout my blog and book, I have written about the spirit, mind and body link. I hear often that me sometime between 35 to 40 years old break down in sports. There may be some scientific validity in this. However, I believe that 50% or more of the sometimes drop in their playing statistics is due to repeated injuries in one area, that even a 22-year-old would suffer form, and is mental. If someone believes that they will get worse in performance at 35 years old, it will happen. If their coach, team players and most people in general think this, it is in the collective consciousness and becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

There is a medical journal article Web site on which most peer-reviewed medical journal articles from the late 1800s to today are kept. I did searches on this and it appears there have not been many studies of people in their 20s to 40s and how age affects their performance. It is not easy to isolate that factor when injuries and mentality have a lot to do with it. I am not committed to answering this enough to perform my own longitudinal study. But I will look more deeply to see if there has been one. And even if there has been one, it does not mean that in the future more old athletes, if they believe and of course keep fit and practice, will be in sports. Dana Cortes, for instance, just set a swimming record at 40 years old. Archived New York City Marathon results will show that a good mix of people in their 20s and 30s, and some in their 40s, come out in the top ten.

The past does not give the future necessarily. On May 6, 1954, the Englishman Roger Bannister, a student at Oxford University, ran the first officially-recorded sub-four-minute mile at 3 minutes 59.4 seconds in Oxford, England. It was once thought to be impossible, but has been broken by many male athletes, and is now the standard of all professional middle distance runners.

Do not let one factor, whether age, gender, a physical challenge, or anything, and not people's tongues, even if they are in the majority take away your belief in yourself. Believe and move!

My third book, Pocket Guide to Fitness, is available on and If you look up my name on those Web sites, you will find my other books The Boy in a Wheelchair and Life, Work and Play: Poems and Short Stories. These two books are on my Web site

No comments: