PUBLISHED: 5:00 PM on Wednesday, May 4, 2005
It's never too late to get in shape

  At age 53, trainer and track competitor Bill Collins proves that staying active is crucial for maintaining proper fitness and good health no matter how old you are.
MS - According to The National Institute on Aging, less than one-third of Americans over 55 are physically active. But those who have adopted a regular exercise program are living longer and enjoying their years to the fullest.

In fact, regardless of age or state of health, older adults can significantly slow the deterioration of both body and mind by engaging in regular cardiovascular exercise and strength training. Research shows that older adults who exercise have a lower risk of coronary heart disease; lower risk of hypertension; decreased blood pressure; control of late-onset diabetes; relief for arthritis pain; increased bone density; reduced risk of fractured bones; better balance; ability to avoid accidental injuries; maintenance of personal independence; and can engage in active activities such as skiing, running and cycling.

Trainer and track competitor Bill Collins is proof that an active lifestyle promotes good health throughout your life. At age 53, Collins holds the world age group record in the USA Masters Outdoor Track and Field Championships as well as the 200-meter record in three different age groups. He's won 10 World Masters titles and more than 70 American Masters crowns, and he hasn't been beaten in years! His world records in the 100, 200, and most recently, 400 meter races, make him the fastest runner alive for his age. No one in his age group anywhere in the world has run as fast.

Collins should inspire anyone who leads a sedentary lifestyle, especially older adults who, at 50, are slowing down or feel it's too late to start an exercise program. Collins has no intention of slowing down. Presently, he is only a 1/2 second off his best running time achieved at age 18. In fact, he ran faster at age 50 than when he was 40 -- thanks in part to a healthy exercise plan.