Peyton Manning. Serena Williams. Hank Aaron.
Q: Aside from being professional athletes, what do these individuals have in common?
A: Each of these record setting players have well surpassed their predicted career expectancy.
The average professional athlete's career is over by 33 years old. Peyton Manning is the oldest ever NFL quarterback to start in and win a Super Bowl at the age of 39 years. At the age of 35 years old, Serena Williams is ranked Number 1 in the Women’s Tennis Association (she also just won a major tournament while pregnant). The legend himself, Hank Aaron broke Babe Ruth’s record by more than 40 with 755 career home runs as he inched closer to his 40's.This not only goes to show that these admirable individuals are the exception to the rule but perhaps we can learn something from their typical “exercise” habits that can enhance OUR day-to-day performance in LIFE.
So what’s their secret? Let’s take a look!
To begin, Stack Magazine highlights Peyton Manning’s off-season workout with D-1 Sports which includes core exercises, agility work and routine flexibility and strength training. Similarly, Muscle Prodigy shares that Serena Williams reached out to her personal trainer to develop a well-rounded exercise regimen to meet her athletic needs. Her specialized workout regimen includes endurance drills, Pilates, Yoga, hours of practicing tennis on the court, functional exercises and strength and cardio training. During the time Hank Aaron was in the sport, baseball was going through somewhat of a controversial evolution of training styles for players especially in relation of the benefits of strength training on the sport. However, former Cincinnati Reds Manager Dusty Baker recalls in his ASAP Podcast a time that he witnessed Hank Aaron crumpling up newspaper and throwing it away, in order to work on his hand strength and grip. This time lapse from successful athletes of the past to those of today can reveal a lot about exercise, but there is more to what makes them successful. Each athlete has his or her own lifestyle habits that may or may not attribute to having a successful long-term career. Modern knowledge and some speculation may bring to light a few things that have helped each of them along the way. Did you know that Hank Aaron is a vegetarian? And that professional athletes of today like Williams and Manning have been mentioned to seek other potentially lifestyle enhancing habits such as proper nutrition, massage therapy, chiropractic, acupuncture, heat and ice therapy, etc.? So perhaps their career success doesn’t just stop at the grueling hours they spend on the field or court? Food for thought!
Ok, I know what you're thinking. Get to the secret already!
Well there’s one point to make before I reveal what has made these athletes so successful and what we can learn from them. To state the seemingly obvious, we are not pro athletes. In fact, if you are anything like me, you can more closely relate to the “average joe” lifestyle of working 40 (or more) hours a week, focusing on managing stress, exercise, diet, sleep and squeezing in time for friends and family wherever you can. Now mind you, I like to think that we are all uniquely special in our own ways; and we are! However, I accept that I cannot access nor afford the unlimited resources like many professional athletes may be able to. So if I dream for a bit that I did have these things and asked what makes them successful long-term, I can narrow everything down to one thing… so are you ready to know the secret?