o On Nov. 14, 2009, at Ultimate Fighting Championship 105, 46-year-old Hall-of-Famer Randy Couture became the oldest fighter to win a UFC match. He defeated Brandon Vera via unanimous decision.
o On Aug. 8, 2007, against the Washington Nationals, 43-year-old Barry Bonds broke Hank Aaron's career home run record by blasting his 756th home run over the right centerfield wall of the Giants stadium.
o In 2004, 41-year-old Dara Torres became the oldest swimmer to compete in the Olympic games, winning three silver medals, bringing her career medal count to 12 (four gold, four silver and four bronze). She has competed in five Olympiads over her career (1984, '88, '92, '00 and '08) - the most Olympic appearances of any U.S. swimmer.
All of these athletes credit their success to proper training, nutrition and recovery strategies. They say they are keenly aware of what their bodies need.
Yes, in general, your athletic performance does begin to diminish in your mid-30s. You can't run as fast or turn as quickly. You might find yourself getting injured more frequently and the injuries might take a little longer to heal than they used to.
The good news is, you don't have to lie down and accept it. You can train smarter and play smarter. An aging Michael Jordan developed a killer fade-away jump shot after disintegrating knees began to rob him of the lightning speed and agility he wowed us with in his youth. That was his Plan B to stay competitive in a sport where youth and speed rule. What's your Plan B to keep you competitive?
Even if you aren't a professional athlete, you have to acknowledge that if you want to stay active and strong, you're going to have to adjust the way you live, train and play as you age. Nutrition, training and recovery becomes crucial as we reach the peak of our athletic years. We may not be able to do what we could in our 20s, but we can absolutely do big things in our 30s, 40s and beyond.
Chad Smith is a Hagerstown personal trainer and co-owner of Home Team Fitness LLC. Go to http://www.hometeamfitness.net for more information.