NEW 90-AND-OVER AGE CATEGORY TO BE INTRODUCED ON ITF SENIORS TOUR IN 2021

The ITF has announced that a new 90-and-over age category will be introduced on the ITF Seniors Tour in 2021.

The news follows the announcement earlier that a 30-and-over age category is also to be introduced next year, with the ITF committed to making improvements at both ends of the age spectrum on the Seniors Tour. The ITF’s mission is to make seniors tennis the leading sport

Today’s announcement means that players aged 90 and over will be able to compete exclusively against one another at events which offer the new category in 2021 – rather than playing against players in their mid-80s, with players in their 90s currently competing in the 85-and-over age categories.

In 2021, a total of 81 registered players on the ITF Seniors Tour will be aged 90 or over (compared to 51 players in 2020). This number is forecast to further grow in the years to come.

The ITF Seniors Tour features more than 500 tournaments a year, played in over 70 nations across six continents. The events range from tournaments held at small clubs attended mainly by local players to the ITF World Championships, which see hundreds of players travel from all over the world. The Seniors Tour is characterised not only by the high level of competition, but also by a warm and welcoming atmosphere, which sustains friendships made through tennis over many years.

Among the highlights of the seniors calendar are undoubtedly the Team and Individual World Championships, and it was with great regret that the ITF was forced to cancel these events in 2020 due to Covid-19 pandemic.

Next year, the ITF Super Seniors World Championships, due to be held in Mallorca, Spain, will feature a 90-and-over category in the individual championships for the first time.

Today’s news will be well-received by the likes of Leonid Stanislavskyi, a 96-year-old player from Ukraine, who will now no longer have to compete against players aged a decade younger – although Stanislavskyi, a formidable character, has more than held his own against younger opposition at events he has contested in the last few years.

“Tennis is a wonderful sport that allows you to play at any age, it gives you physical training that you can enjoy and it can extend your life,” Stanislavskyi said at the ITF Super Seniors World Championships last year. “Tennis for me is a gift I can’t live without. Tennis is life.”

Matt Byford, Manager of Juniors and Seniors Tennis at the ITF, said: “We have been thrilled to see more and more players competing in the 85-and-over age category each year, many of whom are now aged over 90. Offering this new age category will help provide more appropriate competitive opportunities for players in their 90s, and we hope it will encourage and motivate more players to continue playing throughout the 85-and-over category and play in the 90-and-over category in the future.

“Tennis is a great sport for keeping fit and healthy, as proved by the fact that there will be a global tour for tennis players in their 90s from next year. The ITF Seniors Tour allows players to combine this with competitive play, to travel to and visit new places, and to make and sustain friendships through sport.”

AFR: If you want to be healthy at 80, you have to start by 50

Thirty years ago, a 54-year-old medical scientist and British health bureaucrat named Norman Lazarus was settling down to a nice dinner with his wife while on holiday in Switzerland. As he put his napkin on his lap, he saw the bulge of his middle-aged belly protruding over his belt.

Fast-forward to now: Lazarus is a twinkly-eyed, sprightly 84-year-old. Healthwise, he’s in the pink. He’s an endurance cyclist, has recently published a book, and is still working at King’s College London on unravelling the secrets of healthy ageing. His wife, June, who joined him on his health journey, is 87 and also has no age-related illnesses.

Lazarus deployed his medical know-how to develop a simple “trinity” of actions that, if started during middle-age, give you a solid shot at warding off the 20 or so avoidable diseases of age, including cardiovascular disease, pre-stroke hypertension, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, dementia, non-alcoholic liver disease, peripheral artery disease, and certain kinds of cancers.

His book, The Lazarus Strategy: How to Age Well and Wisely (Hachette Australia), is plain-speaking and impassioned. Get started, and get started now – not just for your own sake, but for the sake of our societies’ struggling health systems and ageing demographics.

He has become not only an evangelist, but a guinea pig. Tests on him and other elderly members of his cycling club show cardiovascular function equivalent to inactive people 30 years their junior, and their immune systems are still functioning at high capacity.

Ageing and slowing down is inevitable, he says, but disease and infirmity is not. 

Read more —>

Spanish flu survivor still plays tennis at 102

Spanish flu survivor Evelyn Schroedl is living through another pandemic. But, at age 102, she’s COVID-free and still playing tennis. Chip Reid has her story.

https://www.cbsnews.com/video/spanish-flu-survivor-still-plays-tennis-at-102/

Losing Muscle With Age? Vitamin C Could Be Part of the Solution

We’ve talked about it before, but it deserves repeating because so many people fail to heed the warnings: You lose muscle as you age – even if you work out religiously. As we get older, it becomes increasingly challenging to maintain, much less build, muscle mass like you could when you were younger.If you don’t do anything to prevent that age-related decline, it can lead to major health issues, because it’s not just the size of your muscles that wanes with age – it’s also muscle function and strength.

Fortunately, research suggests exercise and diet can help preserve muscle mass with age to the highest degree possible. A new study explores another option, nutritional supplementation – specifically vitamin C – that can also play a key role in muscle preservation. The study, published in the Journal of Nutrition, found that among more than 13,000 middle-aged to older adults (ages 42-82), those with the highest levels of vitamin C in their diet or blood also had the greatest estimated muscle mass compared to those with the lowest levels.

Remember, you’re going to lose muscle mass every year after age 30 or so. You don’t want that to happen, but it’s going to happen. When you talk to your doctor about ways to help counteract this natural aging process, don’t forget to mention vitamin C, because it appears to be an important part of a healthy lifestyle that will keep your muscles – not to mention the rest of your body – healthy into your Golden Years.

Source

The Crazy Thing That Can Happen to Your Feet

If you’re like most people, you probably do not spend a ton of time, if any,
thinking about the muscles in your feet. In fact, you likely can’t even name
them. Think about it: You know your biceps and triceps are in your upper
arms. You’re certainly aware that the front side of your thighs is your
quads, and the back sides are your hamstrings. But the muscles that lets
you lift your big toe and press it against the ground, that’s called…uh….the,
um…

Abductor hallucis is the phrase you’re looking for. You were just about to
say that, right? You can group it in with a larger formation of muscles
known as the plantar intrinsics, a not-particularly-well-understood group
that both begin and end within the confines of the foot.

Only recently, researchers have been able to take a detailed look at what,
exactly, these muscles do. Among those leading the charge is Luke A. Kelly,
PhD, a biomechanics research fellow at the University of Queensland in
Australia. His work over the past five years has shown that the plantar
intrinsics play a crucial role in maintaining balance, especially when you
are standing on one leg. Why is this important??

ATP: You’re never too old to regain that lost muscle.

Starting sometime in our 30s (the data aren’t precise), we lose up to 8 percent of our muscle mass per decade, a decline called sarcopenia, along with up to 30 percent of our strength and power. This leaves us weaker, less mobile and — especially after we cross age 50 — more vulnerable to injury from falls and similar accidents.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Men and women can regain some of that lost muscle mass and, importantly, stay strong enough to enjoy youthful activities well into their winter years, experts say.

You’re never too old to regain that lost muscle. And you can do it at home. “Building and maintaining strength is one of the most important things you can do at any stage of life, and it’s extremely important after age 50,” a sports medicine physician said.

Read more —>

Source: Washington Post Wellness

Could a Keto Diet Be Bad for Athletes’ Bones?

Race walkers on a low-carbohydrate, high-fat ketogenic diet showed early signs indicative of bone loss.

A low-carbohydrate, high-fat ketogenic diet could alter bone health in athletes, according to a thought-provoking new study of elite race walkers and their skeletons. The study, one of the first to track athletes during several weeks of intense training, finds that those following a ketogenic diet developed early signs indicative of bone loss.

The study adds to the considerable existing evidence that how we eat can affect how exercise affects us. It also raises concerns about possible, long-term health impacts from popular diet plans, including a high-fat, ketogenic diet.

Anyone interested in health, wellness, weight loss, exercise, food or best seller lists is familiar, by now, with ketogenic diets. Known more familiarly as keto diets, they are extremely low-carbohydrate, high-fat regimens, with as much as 90 percent of daily calories coming from fats.

Ketogenic diets, if followed scrupulously, reshape how our bodies fuel themselves. Because carbohydrates can be rapidly metabolized, our bodies typically turn to them first for energy, whether the carbohydrates come from our diets or stored sources in our muscles and livers.

But if people follow a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet, they soon burn through their stored carbohydrates and their bodies start relying on fat for energy. The fat must be broken down first, however, and, as part of that process, the liver creates substances known as ketone bodies that can be converted into energy.

Ketogenic diets are popular now — as they have been off and on in the past — among people hoping to lose weight, control blood sugar or otherwise regulate their health. Some athletes also follow the diet, hoping that it will improve performance, since fat, as fuel, is ample, slow-burning and long-lasting.

By Gretchen Reynolds NYTimes Read more –>

The Crazy Thing That Can Happen to Your Feet (plantar fasciitis)

Recent studies show that foot fitness—and these 5 exercises—can help prevent bunions and plantar fasciitis, ward off shin splints, and, quite possibly, save your life.

If you’re like most people, you probably do not spend a ton of time, if any, thinking about the muscles in your feet. In fact, you likely can’t even name them. Think about it: You know your biceps and triceps are in your upper arms. You’re certainly aware that the front side of your thighs is your quads, and the back sides are your hamstrings. But the muscles that lets you lift your big toe and press it against the ground, that’s called…uh….the, um…

Abductor hallucis is the phrase you’re looking for. You were just about to say that, right? You can group it in with a larger formation of muscles known as the plantar intrinsics, a not-particularly-well-understood group that both begin and end within the confines of the foot.

Only recently, researchers have been able to take a detailed look at what, exactly, these muscles do. Among those leading the charge is Luke A. Kelly, PhD, a biomechanics research fellow at the University of Queensland in Australia. His work over the past five years has shown that the plantar intrinsics play a crucial role in maintaining balance, especially when you are standing on one leg.

Why is this important? One of the biggest risks you’ll face during your life is falling. In fact, falls are the number one cause of injuries and death among older Americans. Whether you’re a senior or a millennial (or somewhere in between), those tiny-but-crucial muscles in your foot that keep you upright are getting weaker by the moment. A recent study released in March 2017 examined toe flexor (part of the plantar intrinsics) strength in more than 1,400 men and found it was a good indicator of one’s body composition and metabolic health. It also showed that an age-related decline in strength developed earlier in the toe flexors than it did the grip (another effective predictor of a long, healthy life), and that strength dropped more sharply.

All of which is to say that the little muscles in your feet are a bigger deal than you think, and not just because weak plantar intrinsics have been linked to bunionsplantar fasciitis, and shin splints (although all of this is true). The strength of your feet and toes is reflective of your strength overall.

Here are five foot-strengthening exercises that help counteract the dysfunctional loading of our feet, restore them to their proper alignment, and strengthen the muscles helping to keep you upright.

Read more …>

 

The Quiet Brain of the Athlete

The brains of fit, young athletes dial down extraneous noise and attend to important sounds better than those of other young people.

By 

Top athletes’ brains are not as noisy as yours and mine, according to a fascinating new study of elite competitors and how they process sound. The study finds that the brains of fit, young athletes dial down extraneous noise and attend to important sounds better than those of other young people, suggesting that playing sports may change brains in ways that alter how well people sense and respond to the world around them.

For most of us with normal hearing, of course, listening to and processing sounds are such automatic mental activities that we take them for granted.

But “making sense of sound is actually one of the most complex jobs we ask of our brains,” says Nina Kraus, a professor and director of the Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., who oversaw the new study.

Sound processing also can be a reflection of broader brain health, she says, since it involves so many interconnected areas of the brain that must coordinate to decide whether any given sound is familiar, what it means, if the body should respond and how a particular sound fits into the broader orchestration of other noises that constantly bombard us.

And they have found interesting variations in proficiency. The brains of trained musicians, for instance, tend to show greater spikes in processing activity when they hear the “da” than do the brains of other people, indicating that learning and practicing musicianship also hones and refines the portions of the brain that process sound.

Some of the athletes’ acoustic agility most likely developed during years of attending to crucial sounds despite clatter, Dr. Kraus says. “You have to be able to hear the coach yelling something or what a teammate is saying,” she says. “Brains change in response to that kind of repeated experience,” and the sound-processing components within the brain strengthen.

But many of the athletes played sports that, typically, are not noisy, she points out. Cross-country running and golf, for instance, most likely demand less sound filtering during most practices and competitions than a sport like football or basketball. But the university’s runners and golfers had brains just as quiet as those of linemen.

For them, “fitness and regular movement of the body also change the brain,” Dr. Kraus says. And sports that seem quiet can still demand a focus on subtle sounds and signals, like the whoosh of a breeze through branches alerting golfers and runners to wind speed or a creak in a joint that could warn of early injury.

Over all, the results suggest that being active, whether as part of a team or on your own, may alter how well brains respond to and understand sounds.

This kind of study cannot tell us definitively, though, whether being an athlete changed the young people’s brains or whether they succeeded as athletes because they were better at sound processing from the start. Dr. Kraus hopes that her continuing research with the university’s sports teams will help to answer that question, as well as whether older people can reshape their sound processing by becoming active.

Read more 

Playing tennis can increase life expectancy by 10 years

Playing tennis could increase life expectancy by a decade, according to an ongoing cardiovascular study.

The Copenhagen City Heart Study has examined people over a 25-year period and evaluated improvements in life expectancy through participation in various sports and leisure-time activities.

In total, 8577 participants were examined for all-cause mortality between 10 October 1991 and 16 September 1994 until 22 March 2017, with various sports found to improve and increase life expectancy.

Of the sports included in the observational study, tennis topped the charts for potential life expectancy gains by some considerable distance, with results suggesting as many as 9.7 years could be added to an individual’s existence.

This is 3.5 years more than its nearest competitor badminton, the playing of which has been found to increase life expectancy by 6.2 years, with football having the potential to add 4.7 years and cycling 3.7 years.

Swimming was found to boost life expectancy rates by 3.4 years, jogging by 3.2 years, calisthenics by 3.1 years and health club activities by 1.5 years.

A further conclusion of the study suggests that leisure-time sports which involve greater levels of social interaction are associated with the higher levels of longevity. The study intends to investigate this finding further.

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