It’s no secret that fitness is a youth serum. Countless studies have proved that working out frequently keeps you younger— both in terms of the energy you have and your physical ability to keep doing the things you love. Your fitness level affects how youthful you look, the way you move, and your ability to do whatever you want, whenever.
Let’s take a look at these superstar athletes who are far beyond their prime when it comes to everybody else in their sport, but they themselves are still in the shape of their lives and are showing absolutely no signs of slowing down.
1.Mahendra Singh Dhoni
The most successful Indian captain of all-time just won the IPL for the third time around with his team Chennai Super Kings at the age of 36. Dhoni played his first international ODI for Team India way back in 2004. Dhoni is the only captain ever to win all three major ICC limited-over tournaments. Under the leadership of Dhoni, India won the 2007 World T20, the 2011 ODI World Cup, and the 2013 Champions Trophy.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni once said in an interview, it’s not about age, it’s about fitness. He has also said on numerous occasions that being a premium athlete means, his diet will be very regulated and he will not be having a lot of food which his friends and relatives might enjoy.
MS Dhoni also regularly plays a lot of football and badminton. Badminton is great for eye work and honing your reflexes, which is very helpful for a wicketkeeper. The footwork and stamina build-up in football helps in his ability to run between wickets. As for the gym, MS Dhoni’s fitness regime of choice is Strength Training. As an aggressive middle-order batsman, he needs his strength to hit the ball over the boundary line. Also, squatting in the wicketkeeper’s position for hours on end requires peak physical conditioning.
2. Roger Federer
Roger Federer, now at the age of 36 has smashed all previously existing tennis records out of the court. After winning his third Grand Slam title in a year, he had no idea how long he will continue playing and we don’t want him to stop anytime soon. The Swiss marvel continues to defy the years and attrition rate, reaching his 30th Grand Slam decider and claiming his 20th Grand Slam title.
Roger Federer’s Fitness routine involves a combination of footwork and core strengthening exercises for tennis. Most of his training is designed in such a way to increase stamina and endurance on the tennis court. Thus he has absolutely no problems whatsoever, even if his matches stretch for 4 or even 5 hours. A tennis player needs to have it all: strength, agility, coordination, endurance, balance, explosive bursts of speed and separate training to improve reaction time.
Federer’s fitness routine is very unique and consists of a number of processes by which he can improve his game. For example, he uses resistance training bands on his legs while in practice, which makes him faster on the court without any bands. To develop core strength, he does medicine ball throws and lateral lunges. He also does a lot of HIIT to improve his reaction speed and timing.
3. Zlatan Ibrahimović
Football is an immensely exhausting and taxing game physically. To be 36 and still playing for the Swedish national team, that too at the World Cup, the biggest stage of them all is an immense achievement. It’s not just his skills with the ball, his charismatic and entertaining personality has won him a plethora of fans the world over.
In the course of his 15-year old international career, he has won 32 trophies, making him the third most decorated active player today. He is his country’s leading goalscorer of all time and has been declared the second most famous Swedish sportsperson of all time after tennis legend Bjorn Borg.
Despite his large stature at 6′ 5”’, Ibrahimović is uncommonly agile for a player of his size and his athleticism and ability in the air have seen him score several goals from acrobatic strikes and volleys throughout his career, which earned him the monicker Ibracadabra in the Italian media.
In spite of his size and physique, Ibrahimović possesses excellent technique and ball control, which, coupled with his balance, power, and physicality, enables him to hold up the ball well with his back to goal, retain possession, and link up with other players. Ibrahimović credits his fitness to his diet, his training regimen and his black belt in Taekwondo. He also listens to a lot of reggae music while training as that helps him get in the mood.
4. Serena Williams
Serena Williams, now 36 is one of the most highly decorated tennis players of all time. She has been ranked World No. 1 for 319 weeks, ranking her third behind the two legends Steffi Graf and Martina Navratilova. She has a total of 39 grand slam wins (23 in singles, 14 in women’s doubles, and 2 in mixed doubles.)
Not only that, she also won the Australian Open 2017 while she was 8 weeks pregnant.
Serena Williams is not a big fan of the gym and likes to mix up her workout routines. She’s an outdoorsy person and so she runs a lot and cycles. But nowadays she mostly just dances. She does all kinds of dances: contemporary, modern and Lyra with a hoop. She also likes ballet and hip-hop. She also follows a raw vegan diet during tennis season, which means plenty of nuts, beans, and lentils. All of the food items she eats is great for boosting metabolism and burning fat. Her workout is very cardio-centric as it helps boost her endurance on the tennis court.
5. Martina Navratilova
The third tennis player on our list, Martina Navratilova played from the years of 1965 through 2005 finally retiring at the age of 50. She is widely regarded as one of the best, if not the best female tennis player of all-time. In 2003, she won the mixed doubles titles at both the Australian Open and Wimbledon, partnering with Leander Paes. This made her the oldest ever major champion (aged 46 years, 8 months).
She initially was a big proponent of weight training to boost her physical conditioning but then she started cross-training with running and basketball to improve her reach and footwork. At this point in time, no other athlete in the world was doing CrossFit training like this, and this allowed her to get a big advantage over all the other players of her era. She applied the same rigor to improving her diet as well as the mental, strategic and emotional aspects of her game. This allowed her to win a record 59 grand slam titles in a career that spanned four decades.