Michelle Martin, a massage therapist in Decatur, started swimming with the Atlanta Rainbow Trout at the age of 50. Two years later, she entered her first international swimming competition and now holds several records and won five gold medals during the International Gay & Lesbian Aquatics championships last summer in Paris. Last month, the Atlanta Gay Sports Alliance named her Sportsperson of the Year.
Martin offers five tips on how older adults can start – and stick with – a fitness routine:
1. Start small. Don’t smart with something big. Don’t go from doing nothing to registering for a triathlon.
2. Start with something you already know. If the only thing you know how to do already is walk, then start walking.
3. Set your priorities. If you are going to do something, put it into your schedule. Say I am going to run every Wednesday at 9 a.m.
4. Set a goal. Work from goal to goal. When you achieve your first goal, as soon as you are done, set up your second goal and never leave yourself goalless. That is the twilight zone and you stop doing everything. For example, say for the month of February, I am going to walk 15 times this month.
5. Have a team – chiropractor, therapist, acupuncturist – to go to when you hit minor setbacks so they can help you heal. Because an older athlete has a whole different set of problems than younger athletes do, they get hurt and it takes them longer to heal. The big thing that discourages older athletes is that they get hurt and their body isn’t responding as it did when they were 30 or 40. You are not too old to do this. Have a team to get you patched up and running again.
Fab Five is a weekly feature that quizzes personalities about sports-related topics. Got someone you’d like to see featured? E-mail me with ideas.
Catch up on past Fab Fives:
Mark Pettit on how the Atlanta Dream should reach gay fans.
Gary Sisney’s tips for watching the Super Bowl.
Philip Rafshoon on page turners for the sporty type.
Mike Horton’s gay sports hopes for 2008.