What’s the optimal age to start a sport? (Guest post)

Who cares? What’s important is to start!

I’ve always been a bit of a workaholic, have thought nothing of working 10-14 hours at a computer, and worked out sporadically. I owned many workout videos, hand weights and a thigh master…that’s right, a thigh master. I’ve tested out every stupid diet introduced in the last 20 years, including a few where I paid ridiculous sums of money to various organizations to coach me through the diet. Many of them worked, many more did not. Inevitably I gained back the weight and then some. Text book mistakes.

A few years ago I was introduced to Life by Design, which was focused on clean eating – nothing with a bar code, no sugar, no wheat. It was kind of amazing. In a 30 day challenge, my energy levels went from meh to woohoo! At the same time I was looking for something to do with all this energy that would be fun and would get me off the couch. Running was ok, but I wasn’t excited enough about it to really keep at it religiously. While sitting on a lawn chair, reading about fitness, I looked up to where my husband was coaching some athletes in our back yard, and decided to get off the chair and give it a try.

My husband is has been competing in the Scottish highland games for 15 years now, and I’ve always supported him, sitting on the sidelines, taking pictures and feeding him on his breaks. I never felt that I could do it, so never tried. I didn’t have the energy and felt that I didn’t have the strength. Now that I had the energy, I figured there was no harm in giving it a try. I figured I’d practice with everyone, but would never compete.

Fast forward to now. I practiced for a year before competing and have been competing for 2. I’m entering my 3rd season of caber tossing, weight, stone and hammer throwing and it turns out I’m doing alright. During the competition season and off season I lift weights, as strength is a big component, but I also practice quite a bit as technique will definitely take me further. I finished last year at #21 in Canada and am competing against women who are significantly younger than me and more experienced (ie. Better technique than me), but I feel I’ve still got plenty of time to learn more.

I can’t believe it took me 45 years to find something that made me want to get off the lawn chair, but I finally have. I’m stronger than ever and have some new lifting and throwing targets in mind for this year. Turning 47 this year is not slowing me down at all, in fact I really think that I’ve got a lot more to do, and I’m having a blast.

Sandi is a feminist in the throes of what some would call her mid-life crisis, having gone from exercising only her mind to lifting weights and throwing heavy objects.  Her natural curiosity and need to know everything serves her well in a career in research as well as all things health, science and well…life really.

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