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Masters Athlete is a relatively new term used to describe avid fitness enthusiasts over the age of 35. Although older athletes have always been around, they were not always considered the norm. In fact, in previous decades, physical fitness and competitive sport were neither common nor encouraged in aging adults. Thankfully, times have changed.

As our aging population continues to grow, we are not taking our longevity lying down. Today, a whole new generation of athletic individuals are breaking the barriers and stigmas of aging. It is no longer an uncommon phenomenon to see adults over 40 and 50 competing in athletic events originally dominated by younger athletes.

Every Masters Athlete has a story and reason for pursuing their physical and mental fitness limits. Some have been avid participants their whole life and have continued with their passion throughout the decades. Others have more personal reasons for starting and maintaining their physical fitness habits.

While the Baby Boomers and GenXers are moving more, not all older adults reach the level of Masters Athletes. Becoming an elite athletic competitor during the second stage of life takes certain personality traits that set them apart from the rest of the pack.

They like Fitness and Sport

One of the most basic traits that any athlete must have is their love of fitness. Athletes feel a genuine enjoyment in participating in their physical pursuits.  There are plenty of people, young and old, who just hate everything about exercise and physical fitness. How many times have you heard someone say: “I hate exercising” or “I hate to sweat”? You will never hear these comments from top athletes, regardless of age or physical ability. For the older fitness buff, exercise is something they really enjoy, plain and simple.

Harmonious Passion

Masters Athletes feel a harmonious passion towards their sport and lifestyle. This means that while they are passionate about exercising regularly, they are not obsessed by it. Masters Athletes find a harmonious balance between their daily obligations and their participation in sport. They do not let their day-to-day responsibilities stop them from exercising regularly, but they also do not let exercise interfere is their daily activities.

Quality vs Quantity Approach

As fitness buffs age, exercise becomes more about quality than quantity. Aging adults have a diverse range of lifestyle routines to work around. Some have career and family obligations while others are retired empty nesters. Masters Athletes are also very aware of the natural aging related changes occurring in their body. When older adults do exercise, they want to maximize their time to get the most benefit possible during a shorter timeframe. Rather than focusing on the hours and minutes spent exercising, they focus on the quality of the workout.

Mental Focus

All fitness buffs, whether a recreational enthusiast or a professional athlete, possess a strong mental purpose for exercise. Whether they are training to compete in a marathon, tournament or race, or to improve their health, lose weight, or overcome some other condition, Masters Athletes are very focused on their main goal for training. Although their lives are busy with other responsibilities and to-do lists, they can clear their thoughts during their fitness programs and focus solely on their training.

Goal Setting

Mature adults set goals for their fitness routine that they are driven to meet. Whether it is a competitive or personal goal, the athlete knows what they want to achieve and work towards reaching that goal. Once they have achieved their target, they set new goals so they always have an intent for their exercise.

Masters Athletes are the new norm in today’s aging population. More and more older adults are breaking the myths of what living longer should look like by pushing their physical abilities beyond perceived limits. But while there are plenty of mature individuals getting physical, not all older adults aspire to be Masters Athletes. Those who do become elite in their sport have certain traits that drive them to excel in their athletics.

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