Inspiration is a powerful force which can help us do things we never believed we’d be able to do. We keep being told how the Olympics will inspire everyone to participate in sport and do more exercise. But if that’s not enough for you here are some inspiring people, quotes and stories which will encourage you to get out of the chair and propel you towards new goals.
To inspire means to fill someone with the urge or ability to do something. Literally, ‘to fill with breath’. Being inspired can make the difference between feeling like slumping in front of the sofa munching on M&Ms and not caring, to suddenly having a powerful urge to grab your kit and head to the gym for a workout. It’s an important part of many successful people’s lives. And it could be just what you need. So read on, and be inspired....
Inspirational over 40s
“It’s never too late to become what you might have been”. This is the attitude that has inspired many older athletes to ignore the preconception that ageing means stepping back.
There were 187 over 40’s athletes at the London Olympics this year, the oldest being a 71 year old dressage competitor from Japan. Ok, equestrian may not be the same as sweating it out at the gym, but it’s the psychological strength, self-discipline and getting up and trying again, even when it seems everything is lost, which is so imperative to success at any age.
61 year old Cliff Young didn’t let his age stop him from winning the Sydney to New York ultra-marathon. The dedicated sheep farmer ignored warnings against taking part in the 544 mile race against hundreds of trained athletes, did it his own way (running at a slow pace throughout and not stopping to sleep when others did) and won the event!
Kettleball World champion Sergery Rachinsky is one of the strongest men in the world at age 42, holding records such as 100kg back squats for 180 reps. Herschel Walker, previously a sprinter, has gone on to become an MMA fighter at age 48.
While we don’t all want to win marathons or be Olympians, we can learn to embrace challenges and push ourselves a little bit further. More people over 50 are taking part in events such as triathlons and marathons than ever before, a good example that it’s really never too late.
Whatever age you are, most of us have felt like skipping a gym session because we don’t feel 100%, or don’t go to the gym at all because we’re embarrassed or don’t think we can do it. Ignore those excuses to working out. Many people have obstacles to overcome and you can choose to let them stop you, or decide not to let them beat you. Even if you have a serious illness or disability, this does not have to stop you achieving your goals.
For example, German runner, Katrin Green, lost her leg as a child but didn’t let this control her life. Instead, her self-belief - “if you’re self-confident you can achieve anything” - led her to worldwide success. Lance Armstrong, despite his achievements being stripped from him, demonstrated great bravery by coming back from testicular cancer with a poor prognosis, returning to good health and cycling in the Tour de France seven times.
We never know what hardships life will throw at us, and sport and exercise can help us develop the strength of mind and determination to remain positive, carry on, and even gain strength from adversity. Sikh Fauja Singh was still running marathons at 100 years old and stated: “I suffered a tragic accident in my life, a traumatic experience; I took up running as a new focus in life”.
Blind Italian swimmer Cecilia Camellini was also an inspiration to many people in the 2012 Olympics. She sums up the winning attitude simply, “Sport is a very important tool to manage difficult moments in life”.
Pictures, videos or ‘pictoral quotes’ can be incredibly powerful and motivating and found easily online. Music is another inspiring force, used at the Olympics ceremonies, energizing us, grounding us in the present and triggering powerful emotions we can use to be our best.
A quotation is often enough to motivate our positive spirit, smile at the setbacks and reach our potential. Here’s some of the best:
“Strive for progress, not perfection”
“The difference between what we want and need is self control”’
“Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right”
“You will never find time for anything. If you want time, you must make it”
“If you keep going you won’t regret it”
“No matter who you are, no matter what you do, you absolutely, positively do have the power to change”
And my personal favourite:
“You have a choice. You can throw in the towel or you can use it to wipe the sweat off your face”.
by Jessica Ward
by Kath Webb
by Jessica Ward
by Laura Briggs
by Jessica Ward