Anyone who knows me through CFP knows my admiration & passion for the Masters. This not only extends to CrossFit & the intro from CFHQ last year to formally start up the Masters Catergory (50+) in competition.
My interest in getting people active in the 50+ age range has been a mission of mine for some years now. Any CFP regular knows Margaret & she is without doubt my greatest success story, whilst she was very active when I met her, she had a frozen shoulder & was advized that it may not ever improve. She thrived since starting a "Seniors Strength & Conditioning" program that i kicked of a few years back when I was working in the land of Globo. In the last 12 months she has moved on to CrossFit as her primary source of Strength & Conditioning.
It seems that more and more evidence is accumulating regarding the benefits of high-intensity (or at least higher-intensity) exercise well into the golden years of life. It appears that a fairly strong case can be made for exercise improving one's quality of life, and there may even be a case mounting for high-intensity exercise extending your life (although certainly not as strong a case at this point, since studies on the interaction of exercise and life extension are still a fairly new area for examination).
I was put on to a recent NY Times article "The Incredible Flying Nonagenarian" (see link at end of post), Olga Kotelko is profiled. Olga, a masters track athlete who currently holds 23 world records, 17 of them in her current age category (90-94 years old), doesn't show any signs of slowing down.
The article is a fascinating portrait of Olga, but is also a nice discussion of high-intensity exercise and its benefits, as well as some discussion of what's going on at a cellular level when it comes to aging. The author of the article even points out that some scientists now view aging as a mitochondrial disease.
My favorite tangential excerpt had to do with a researcher's findings on NASA and its astronauts, their loss of muscle while in space (a well-documented occurrence in space travel), and their suboptimal exercise program. They were using a program centered around treadmills, a stationary bike, and a resistance machine.
The researcher's recommendation: "Trappe concluded the regime wasn’t nearly hard-core enough. His prescription for NASA: heavier loads and explosive movements. 'It’s pretty clear that intensity wins up there,' he says."
The article is a great read, albeit a long one, so grab a cup of coffee and your bifocals and read up: