The Heart of a Champion Burns Bright at 82

There is no secret formula to beat the aging process, but we found a beautiful lady who has come very close to finding it.  In 2019, most people are looking for an easy way to slow down father time.  It may be by discovering the latest diet, supplement or surgery, but 82 year old Sharon Roggenbuck believes in taking care of herself the old fashion way.  Daily workouts, eating healthy, and getting plenty of rest when she needs to. 

Don't think for one minute this senior citizen is like most other people her age.  She is simply extraordinary. She completed 3 Ironman distance triathlons in her 70's and has finished 10 Half Ironman races. 

On August 11th, she competed in her 221st triathlon, the USA Triathlon National Championship in Cleveland, Ohio. That prestigious race consisted of a 750 meter swim, a 12.4 mile bike and a 3.1 mile run and her winning time was a stunning 2 hours, 17 minutes and 29 seconds.

We were intrigued by Ms. Roggenbuck, so we asked her if she had any secrets she wanted to reveal.  She smiled and said, “absolutely not, it is just about putting in the work”.  She starts her day at 4:30 AM and even though it might not consist of the ordinary triathlon training components like swimming, biking or running, she does some kind of a workout everyday. 

She said “I enjoy staying active by teaching two bicycle spin classes per week, an exercise and strength class and a TRX full body workout class.” In case that is not enough for any 25 year old, Ms Roggnbuck said, “I bike 40 miles on Wednesday and run up to 6 miles twice a week.” Oh yeah, her schedule is busy, but she also makes time to tap dance too.

We asked Ms. Roggenbuck if she had any advice for senior citizens and she said,“I would recommend that all seniors stay active and spend time on strength training.  It does not have to be an aerobic or cardiovascular activity, but working with free weights and striving to improve flexibility and balance.”

All of those are essential for older adults as they age.  Ms. Roggenbuck added, “When teaching my classes, I like to find an exercise toy for seniors to use.  Anything from stability balls, bands, a weighted bar and gliders are quite helpful.  There are a lot of things that older Americans can do to become stronger, but you have to sometimes use your imagination.” 

According to Harvard Health, building strength and flexibility will help prevent falls in the older population. 

Exercise is a proven way to prevent falls, by strengthening the muscles that keep us upright and improving our balance.  Harvard Health recommends doing a combination of these types of exercises to improve balance:

  • Aerobic
  • Balance
  • Flexibility
  • Resistance and Strength Training

Health experts report it is important to get 8 hours of sleep, so we asked Ms. Roggenbuck if she takes naps.  She said, “I do take a nap on occasion.  On Monday's, I start my spin class at 6:30, then I run 2, 4 or 6 miles, followed up with at least a ½ mile swim.  By the time I get home, I take a nap.”  Just thinking about the endurance of this 82 year old will make the highly energetic bunny tired.

Nutritionist studies show eating healthy is crucial to staying active as we age.  Ms. Roggenbuck does not attempt to being too rigid with her diet, but is selective with what she eats.  Salmon twice weekly, two meals with vegetables and no caffeine or junk food.

Without a doubt, Ms. Roggenbuck possesses a mind second-to-none, but when we asked her about the importance of her mental focus during competition, she said she tells herself throughout the race,“I can do it”.  Those words are vital for every older American as they age.  We may not have the physical talent, tools and endurance of Ms. Roggenbuck, but for this upcoming National Senior Citizens Day, let's at least practice positive self talk in hopes of improving our health.


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