There are few sports as physical as ice hockey. Players move constantly while maintaining their balance on thin blades. They must constantly observe and control the puck, and absorb/distribute a few friendly bumps with other players. It’s a one of the most challenging sports to play.
Today’s blog shares an interview with an athlete who continues to play hockey as he approaches the age many consider retiring. Ira Lustman*, however, is showing no signs of slowing.
If you don’t mind, could you tell us your age and what you do?
I’m going to be 60 in a few months. I’m a software developer, so I have a lot of desk time.
How long have you been playing hockey?
I started playing hockey when I was 12. I played all through college and continued playing until we started our family (I was 25). I didn’t play again until I was 50. Getting back into it was a healthy midlife crisis thing. Over the years I had gained 50 lbs. and was not happy about it. I told myself that if I could get under 200 lbs. (I was over 230) I would join a men’s hockey league and that helped to motivate me.
What do you think you can attribute to your health and active longevity?
The most important thing to me is to make it fun. If exercise is drudgery then it’s so much harder to stay with it.
What type of workout or stretching regimen do you do?
In addition to playing hockey once per week, I try to run 4-5 days a week. We have a really active Australian Shepherd who loves to exercise. I run with her before starting work most mornings. It’s good for her and good for me. She can’t wait to hit the road every morning and that helps motivate me.
Is there a particular exercise or movement or set of movements that you could recommend to those that want to get into better shape and maybe don’t know where to start?
Pick something you like, anything is better than nothing. Build up gradually.
What about diet? Are there particular things you eat – or avoid – to maintain your physicality?
I think I still have some work to do here. I have gotten in the habit of weighing myself every morning. That tells me when to be more careful. I do avoid having ice cream in the house. It’s my kryptonite.
What advice would you give someone over the age of 55 who would like to get into organized sports?
I’m fortunate that there is a 50+ league in my area. Everyone in the league is there to have fun and get a workout in.
Any other parting words of advice for our audience?
Find something you like to do and stick with it.
As always, consult your physician before trying out any new physical activity – especially ice hockey.
*This interview took place in November of 2015