I’ve heard the saying “I’m too old to start working out” more times than I’d like to count. My normal response to these people is that age is just a number and that it’s never too late to start. I usually get eye rolls and even more excuses as to why they can’t (or rather, won’t) work out. I’m here to prove that it’s never too late to start exercising, even if you think it’s impossible.
Picking up a new exercise regime at age 100
Julia Hawkins, a.k.a. Hurricane, is a 101-year-old Baton Rouge, Louisiana, native new runner who just started running a year ago- at age 100. She earned the nickname “Hurricane” last summer, when her speed and spunk on the track fascinated live spectators.
“I like the fact that hurricanes are fast and that I was fast, but hurricanes do damage and I don’t want to do damage,” Hawkins says.
But she’s already done damage, to the record books at least. Her numbers are amazing, especially for a centenarian. But she doesn’t do it alone.
Never too late
How does Julia make it work? How does she pull off not only starting but also excelling at running at age 101? Here’s a few tips from the record-breaker herself.
- Get a good support system. Hawkins credits her four children for providing unrelenting moral support. In addition to this, she relies on track-side assistance to keep her going. She finds herself out of breath and exhausted at the end of races, so someone there to catch her helps a lot.
- Maintain realistic expectations. At an advanced age, it’s unlikely you will get better at what you’re doing. Each day, you will likely be a little bit worse. Hawkins doesn’t train much for her races, but she does keep busy, spending significant time tending to her backyard. “I do a little running around each day-not a certain amount or time-but just to keep everything going.”
- Don’t stretch too much. Julia’s warm up consists of jiggling up and down a little, and she saves the stretching for afterwards.
- Find a talisman. Shortly before her race in Birmingham, Hawkins opened a fortune cookie that prophesied: You will make a sudden rise in life. She believes this ties into that race. She kept the slip of paper and often tucks it into her pocket for on-the-go good luck.
It’s no mystery why Julia is smiling. The next time you think to yourself that you’re too old to start, think of Julia and where she’d be if she thought the same thing.
Age is just a number
What motivates you to exercise? What’s holding you back if you haven’t started yet? If running isn’t for you, maybe you’d rather lift weights.