Elite athletes play a huge role in our culture. Not only are they gifted in their respective sports, but modern society has lifted them onto pedestals; molded them into role models; glamorized them as fashion plates; and given them hero status. Usually they are relatively young people.
This month, IDEA Fitness Journal celebrates six superb athletes and lauds their physical strength, mental fortitude and training wisdom. It’s not the typical line-up of superstars, however. In fact, all of them are aged 61–81; all are masters athletes who have reached deep inside themselves to fulfill a personal goal or dream. Best known among this impressive group of men and women is world champion ultra-long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad, who received the 2014 IDEA Jack LaLanne Award at the IDEA World Fitness ConventionTM last month.
On September 2, 2013, Nyad achieved her lifelong dream of swimming the entire grueling and dangerous 110-mile journey from Havana, Cuba, to Key West, Florida. She was the first person ever to do so without a shark cage (only one other person has swum the entire strait). Nyad had attempted the swim and failed in heartbreaking fashion four times over the previous 35 years; at 64 she finally did it.
Nyad told author Ryan Halvorson that these days she is less interested in the accolades and recognition she received as a young competitive swimmer. Her rigorous training programs are driven by a desire to be better connected to the world around her. “Top of the line, fitness keeps me fit at my age, and plays a huge role in staying engaged,” she explains. “It keeps me 100% full-out living. I take care of this body first. I make sure that this machine is the best it can be.”
We hope Diana’s story as well as the five others profiled in the piece will inspire you. Share this article with your clients (especially the older ones), all of whom probably need the occasional reminder that every one of us is an athlete and there are no limits to the barriers we can smash at any age.
Taxing Downward Dog in DC
Do you know what carpet-cleaning services, bowling alleys and fitness studios/gyms have in common in our nation’s capital? A District of Columbia bill approved by council members on June 24 will mandate that all such service providers charge customers a 5.75% “yoga” or “wellness” tax as of January 1.
While this revenue-raising strategy is not exactly new (22 other states tax fitness services), we feel it sends the wrong message when our nation is already facing staggering costs from overweight and obesity.
Taxes are commonly associated with penalties. They are “levied” and “imposed.” Aside from the intrinsic reasons people should be driven to exercise, perhaps it would be more logical to incentivize the public with tax breaks for paid fitness services? With all the data available proving the positive effects of exercise on health (and potentially a lower healthcare bill), penalizing people for services that help them to get healthier seems ironic and inappropriate.
Are you a fitness professional in Washington, DC, or in one of the states that taxes fitness services? We’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Please share your opinion: firstname.lastname@example.org.