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How to Feel 40 When You’re 60+. Olympic Runner Reveals Her Secret to Aging Gracefully

 Written by 

Julien Raby

 Last updated on 

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Olympic gold medalist Joan Benoit Samuelson isn’t slowing down in her 60s. 

Her secret to aging well? A powerful balance of mind, body, and spirit. 

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Discover how her approach to running fosters a life of energy and purpose.  This philosophy isn’t just for elite athletes – Samuelson believes running holds benefits for everyone, no matter your age or ability. 

Learn how she navigates challenges and maintains a passion for fitness at any stage of life. Get inspired to embrace your own aging journey with Joan Benoit Samuelson’s wisdom.

The Mind-Body-Spirit Triad in Aging

Samuelson firmly believes that aging well is largely a mental game. “When I look in the mirror, sure, I look 60-plus, maybe even older. 

But I feel like I’m 40-something, and that’s what’s important. It’s mind over matter,” she explains. This mindset reflects a broader philosophy where balance between the mind, body, and spirit is crucial. 

Disruptions in this balance, she notes, can affect one’s overall performance and well-being. Thus, maintaining this equilibrium through varied activities, whether it’s running fewer miles or finding quiet time, is key to her sustained vitality.

The Importance of Physical Activity

The benefits of exercise are well-documented, but for Samuelson, they are particularly poignant as one ages. 

Physical activity has bolstered her self-esteem and energy levels, enhancing her ability to contribute positively to society. 

“First of all, you feel better. And when you feel better, you’re more willing to be active and do things. And when you do things, you’re more willing to reach out and help somebody else who may be struggling,” she states. 

This cycle of wellness creates a momentum that carries her forward, making every run and every day count.

Running: A Sport for All

Samuelson cherishes the inclusivity of running, a sport that melds world-class athletes with casual runners. She recalls a recent marathon in Chicago, remarking on the shared experience of setting a world record, a moment that unified thousands. 

“There’s something for everybody in our sport. It’s very inclusive. No matter your ability, you can participate,” she highlights. 

This aspect of running fosters a sense of community and collective achievement, important elements in staying motivated.

Navigating Life’s Challenges

Setbacks are inevitable, whether in fitness or life, and Samuelson’s approach is to take them in stride. 

“It’s okay to take small steps. It’s okay to take time off,” she advises, stressing the importance of solid goals and a steady pace. 

For those new to exercise or returning after a pause, she suggests finding a community or a partner to share the journey, enhancing the experience and the likelihood of persistence.

Vision for Aging and Fitness

Samuelson’s wish for societal attitudes towards aging is clear: get more people moving. She sees physical fitness not just as a remedy for physical ailments but as a crucial defense against mental health challenges. 

“I want everyone to feel confident, and feel like they’re part of a community,” she expresses. 

Her advocacy for a shift towards more community-driven fitness initiatives underscores her belief in the power of exercise to uplift spirits and foster connections.

A Lifelong Commitment to Health

Joan Benoit Samuelson’s ongoing journey is a testament to the power of maintaining an active lifestyle beyond conventional retirement age. 

Her life’s work and philosophy serve as a compelling call to embrace our physical capabilities, no matter our age, and to seek harmony in our mental and spiritual pursuits. 

As we look to the future, Samuelson’s legacy not only enriches the world of sports but also redefines the contours of aging gracefully.

About

Julien Raby is the owner of BoxLife. He owns a bachelor in literature and a certificate in marketing from Concordia. He's Crossfit Level 1 certified and has been involved in Crossfit since 2010. In 2023 he finally made it to Crossfit Open Quarterfinals for the first time. LinkedIn Instagram Facebook

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