Senior Athletes Show That Physical Fitness Is Achievable At Any Age

The Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro showcase the most talented athletes in the world who are in peak physical condition. A similar athleticism can be seen in senior athletes like Dottie Gray, Orville Rogers and Dixon Hemphill, who were recently featured on the CBS Sunday Morning special “Senior athletes: Going the distance.” These athletes, all over 90 years of age, regularly exercise and compete in races, breaking world records. For the CBS special, 91-year-old Dixon Hemphill visited the lab at Milken Institute School of Public Health’s Foggy Bottom campus to test his fitness and health.

Loretta DiPietro, professor and chair of the Exercise and Nutrition Sciences Department, and Geoffrey Hudson, lab director and exercise and nutrition sciences assistant professor, administered the tests. The first test was a DEXA Scan, which measures body fat. The second was a VO2 Max test, which measures how efficient his body is at using oxygen. Hemphill’s results showed that he has just 14 percent body fat – that of an athletic 20-year-old, and the athletic performance someone 30 years younger.

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