Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Age is a number...

...not a fitness index.

Seb Coe and Gary Lineker featured on the Today programme this morning (Click here to open an audio file of the feature) speaking about age in sporting achievements. This was all prompted by the fact that Steve Davis is competing at the crucible in the World Snooker Championships. Don't get me wrong: watching snooker is as dull as ditch water BUT the question remains-is Steve Davis, at 51, past it? Well he certainly hasn't won the championship in quite some time (World championship since the eighties and other major events since the nineties) and as Lineker points out in this radio piece Davis' eyesight may not be what it was and his nerves might get to him more nowadays!

Coe (someone I see as being intensely competitive and who in a recent interview said that during his training schedule one Christmas Day the mere thought of his rival *potentially* training a second time that day forced him back out on the track) was a little more philosophical about age: Age is a number, not a fitness index. Mental attitude and determination can get us a long way.

Lineker however moves in for the coup de grace and points out that most professional (association) footballers and rugby footballers performances decline after the age of 30. You can't cheat the ageing process!

He's right of course: our physical abilities do tend to decline at about that age and if we're not a professional footballer by then, well there's always snooker. However...I did meet a Tang Soo Do practitioner in his seventies who assured me that building up the muscles around the knee help protect it from the ravages of age. And there is always mental attitude. Check out Michele's blog about a spunky septuagenarian!

Martial artists' physique may decline with age but their experience increases and experience counts for a lot. Knowing the techniques intimately helps you naturally flow through moves and counters as your body has already 'memorised' these structures. As long as your memory is ok...! Check out Dan's blog here showing technique in an older martial artist.

But hey, even if you don't like snooker you can always take up something sedate like Tai Chi for example. Right?...er... Right?

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