An 83-year-old man who went from being a couch potato to a super fit athlete in later life has revealed the secrets to his success.
Joseph Maroon, a neurosurgeon at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, was in his early 40s and in such poor shape that climbing a flight of stairs was a challenge.
And he was also struggling mentally after his divorce and his father’s death, which led to a brief hiatus in his career.
Dr. Maroon was desperate for anything to make him feel better and a friend suggested he go for a run.
This marked the beginning of an epic journey of fitness and physiological transformation. By the age of 83, more than 40 years later, he had completed eight Ironman triathlons.
Dr. Joseph Maroon, a neurosurgeon at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (left), struggled to climb stairs in his 40s. Now, at 83, he has completed eight Ironman triathlons (pictured right).
Since the dawn of his health drive, Dr. Maroon has set aside an hour a day to exercise, six days a week.
This includes a mix of aerobic activity such as running, resistance training and flexibility exercises, as well as swimming and cycling.
As the years went by, his physical condition improved and he eventually began competing in races, eventually reaching triathlons.
Dr. Maroon, 83, has spent the last 40 years improving his fitness to championship levels.
In 2022, he entered the 2022 National Senior Games triathlon, which involved a 750 m swim, 20 km bike ride and 5 km run. He was the winner in his age category.
Dr Maroon completed the race with his daughter Isabella, 27, and the pair hope to participate in more triathlons together in the future.
He said: ‘The bottom line is that not everyone needs to train as if they are going to become a triathlete.
“But exercise and sports participation have so many benefits that, regardless of your age or previous training, you should consider it.”
Since he was in his early 40s, Dr. Maroon has set aside an hour of his day to exercise, which can be anything from running to strength training.
Now, at 83, Maroon serves as medical director for the WWE wrestling organization and advocates for a balanced lifestyle.
Dr. Maroon advocates certain lifestyle habits, the first of which is reducing stress.
Your goal is to balance four priorities in your life: work, family and friends, spirituality, and exercise.
Chronic stress traps the body in fight-or-flight mode, he said. Business Insidercausing depression, anxiety, bad sleep and migraines.
In the long term, stress is also considered a risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
He also recommends dedicating time to spirituality.
“I bring spirituality to everything I do,” said Dr. Maroon, including his care of patients, his relationships with his family and his daily ethical outlook.
Spirituality is not limited only to religion, he stated.
‘I am referring to spiritual beliefs that are developed in rituals and various ethics, or the belief in a higher being or that there is something greater than us.
“It can be in nature or whatever you choose.”
Previous research has suggested that spiritual practices can create purpose and build psychological resilience and, in turn, longevity and greater life satisfaction.
A 2016 study found that attending a religious service at least once a week was linked to a 33 percent lower mortality rate.
Your next pearl of wisdom is to avoid alcohol, cigarettes and drugs. None of these align with longevity.
Tobacco kills more than eight million people a year, while more than 106,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2021.
And while some research suggests that drinking wine might be beneficial, the World Health Organization has always said that no level of alcohol is safe to drink.
The next thing is getting enough sleep, Dr. Maroon said. It has countless health benefits, including a better metabolism, which can keep obesity at bay, a superior immune system, and a lower risk of coronary heart disease.
Studies have also shown that getting enough sleep helps people meet their diet and exercise goals.
Dr Maroon is not the first to discover he is fit later in life.
Jennifer Fisher, 56, is a hybrid athlete from Austin, Texas, known as @thefitforkofficial on TikTok, where she shares her healthy recipes and workouts.
The health-conscious content creator fills her TikTok and Instagram feeds with videos of herself running, lifting weights, and competing in obstacle courses.
Nancy Cox, 67, had never considered herself athletic and never played sports in school.
But five decades later, it’s in the best shape it’s ever been in.
In 2011, her friends suggested that Nancy and her husband join them for a group ice skating lesson.
“I just fell in love with it,” she said. AARP. “I thought, if I work on this, I can get better.”