A lifeguard for more than 50 years, Ed Peters has to stay in shape so he can potentially save others. Every year Peters must pass a lifeguard re-hire test, which involves running a quarter-mile and swimming 100 meters under certain times. (Search: Lifeguard certification requirements) To prepare, he commits to a regimen of swimming, cycling, and lifting.
Video: Check out Ed Peters in action!
The intensity of CrossFit makes it a formidable activity for even the most youthful athletes, but that hasn't stopped Jacinto Bonilla. The septuagenarian has been lifting weights since the 1950s and discovered CrossFit about six years ago after reading about it in Men's Health. He's been a regular ever since. He remained committed to CrossFit even as he battled prostate cancer.
Video: Check out Jacinto Bonilla in action!
Bodybuilding champion Ernestine Shepherd puts most grandmas to shame. After years of teaching fitness classes at her church, the sleek 70-something took up body building at 71 and held the Guinness title for the oldest female competitive bodybuilder from 2010 through 2011. To maintain her physique, Shepherd routinely rises at 3 AM to run up to 10 miles, lift weights, and work with trainers.
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Fitness has almost always been an integral part of Don Wildman's life. The founder of Bally Total Fitness has been an influential member of the industry for more than 50 years. He continues to stay active with strength training and a variety of extreme sports, and recently has competed in events including the Huntsman World Senior Games, the Hawaii Ironman triathlon (he's finished nine Ironmans total!), and the New York and Los Angeles marathons. To celebrate turning 80, he plans on mountain biking in the Himalayas as well as participating in the Race Across America, a 3,000-mile bike ride.
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Most runners can only dream of running a 3:30 marathon--a time Canadian Ed Whitlock nailed at the ripe age of 81. Whitlock's 3:30:26 finish at the 2012 Toronto marathon was just another age-group world record for the octogenarian who holds the 81-age record and several masters track records, as well as the 80+ record, which he set at the 2011 Toronto Marathon.
This might be the closest we get to a real-life flying nun. Sister Madonna Buder, known as the Iron Nun, has completed more than 340 triathlons, including dozens of Ironman-class races. In fact, the 75-to-79 age group category was created just for her at the 2005 Ironman World Championship in Kona, HI. She's the oldest women to ever have completed an Ironman triathlon, and holds several age-group records. The Roman Catholic nun's athletic career began in her late 40s when she started running for spiritual enrichment. Eventually, she integrated cycling and swimming into her routine in her 50s. You can read about her experiences in her memoir, The Grace to Race.
One of the world's oldest oarsmen, British dentist Charles Eugster began competing in regattas in his 60s. He has more than 100 rowing awards to his name, including 36 Masters Golds. Eugster took up bodybuilding in his 80s, and has won championship titles in two fitness decathlons. The fitness enthusiast also travels the world preaching the benefits of exercise for the elderly.
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The 86-year-old--also known as the "Gladyator"--didn't run her first marathon until she was 86. After the first time she crossed the finish line, she completed the Honolulu Marathon five times, and in 2011 her accomplishment catapulted the then 92-year-old into the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest woman to finish a marathon.
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To say that Tao Porchon-Lynch is a master yoga teacher almost feels like an understatement. The 94-year-old has been practicing for over 70 years and has traveled the world to study with yoga greats. She founded the Westchester Institute of Yoga in 1982, and continues to lead yoga classes and workshops in her hometown and across the globe.
Faujah Singh is thought to be the oldest marathon in the world (his lack of a birth certificate, however, prevents him from nabbing the official Guinness Book of World Records title). In 2011 the so-called "Turbaned Tornado" finished the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon at age 100. Two years later the centenarian capped off his career by completing his last competitive race--a 10K in Hong Kong--before retiring from the sport shortly before his 102nd birthday.
For more inspiration read about how one woman completed 52 marathons in 52 weeks