An 83-year-old neurosurgeon who does triathlons has 3 tips for younger people who want to be as fit and healthy as him

Dr. Joseph Maroon, an 83-year-old neurosurgeon, shares his tips for staying fit and healthy as he competes in triathlons. He discusses the importance of exercise, starting with a walk, doing resistance training and flexibility exercises, and finding balance in life.


Exercise changed his life

At age 40, Dr. Joseph Maroon was so unfit that he would struggle to climb a flight of stairs. But everything changed when a family friend encouraged him to go for a run after he hit rock bottom.

Now aged 83, Maroon competes in triathlons and continues to practice as a neurosurgeon at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, two decades past the point when most people retire.

By the time the family friend phoned him up about running, he was willing to try anything to improve his mental health.

Start with a walk

Maroon recommends starting slowly with a walk when beginning a fitness journey. Experts agree that starting slowly is the best way to make sustainable changes. Start with 15 to 20 minutes every day or every other day to give your body a chance to adjust and your mind to get used to it.

There are various options for aerobic activity, such as triathlons, running on a treadmill, or using an elliptical. Maroon suggests picking an exercise that works for you.

Do resistance training and flexibility exercises

In addition to aerobic activity, Maroon emphasizes the importance of resistance training and flexibility exercises. He personally enjoys pilates but also recommends stretching, yoga, or isometric exercises for flexibility and using bands and weight-lifting for resistance training.

There are different ways to build muscle for beginners, including rucking, rowing, and lifting weights.


Address the balance in your life

Finding a balance between work and family commitments has been key to Maroon's fitness journey. He reflects on the balance between work commitments, family and social life, exercise, and spirituality each day and makes adjustments for his health.

Before prioritizing his health, Maroon sacrificed everything for his work, unaware of the impact it had on his overall wellbeing. Rebalancing your priorities and reducing stress is essential for maintaining good health and longevity.

Chronic inflammation caused by stress has been linked to various health problems, including heart disease, stroke, cancer, and Alzheimer's disease. By modulating work, family, spirituality, and physical life, Maroon believes it's possible to function at a high level for a long time.