In 2009, while Tony Whatley was participating in the National Handball Championships at the University of Minnesota, he noticed two unexpected things: a) that there was a group of 80- to 85-year-old athletes who could still play handball, and b) that they were actually “good.”
“Here I was watching these gentlemen who were in the 85-year-old category and I sort of marveled at the fact that they … were good. I got fascinated by the [question] of what they have done to prolong their ability to participate in strenuous athletics,” said Whatley, founder of the online health community, FitBehavior.org.
Whatley, 69, began interviewing these senior athletes about how they stayed fit, hoping to get a sip of their "fountain of youth." Now, hundreds of interviews later, Whatley and his FitBehavior.org colleague, Jessica Seyfert, have released an e-book titled, "Inspire Your FitBehavior: Real people. Real results. Real motivation.”
While the goal of “Inspire Your FitBehavior” is to encourage fitness among those 45 and older, Whatley contends that it is not your average self-help book. The e-book, which includes 20 videos, tells the stories of several non-athletes who changed their lives through fitness. It is the inspirational quality of these stories that sets the book apart, said Whatley.
“We got help from doctors who looked at our material ... and for physicians it is very frustrating because the missing ingredient [for non-athletes] isn’t information, the missing ingredient is inspiration … but physicians don’t have a prescription for inspiration,” said Whatley.
Whatley hopes that the book will have a widespread effect on senior athletes and help create a “movement to get America fit." The impact of this, Whatley said, would have a tremendous effect on American life as a whole.
“If we could get our population healthy, we could probably cut a trillion dollars [spent on] health care, and take a giant step towards solving what our government seems incapable of solving -- which is the fiscal crisis our government seems to have," he said.
In light of the New Year's holiday, we asked Whatley for the book’s top 9 takeaways to aid you in achieving fitness resolutions. Check out the slideshow below to find out more.