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Baby boomers getting back into sports

Anybody with even a cursory knowledge of figure skating knows that most avid skaters start at a very young age. Nobody told that to Westland, Michigan, resident Dave Petzel, who has made himself into a three-time national champion more than 15 years after taking up the sport in his late 40s, The Detroit Free Press reports.

Petzel, who is 64, most recently won at the U.S. Adult Figure Skating Championships last year when he captured the crown for his level and age group.

"Competition to me is like a point on a pencil. It sharpens your wit; it places you on a new ground of being," Petzel told the publication. "The enemy of good is better, and I'm going to keep trying to get better."

Though Petzel's sport of choice is figure skating, he is certainly not alone when it comes to boomers getting their exercise through competitive athletics. According to a recent study, people over the age of 55 are the fastest-growing demographic in health clubs with a 380 percent increase since 1987. Low-impact activities such as yoga, pilates and elliptical machines are especially popular.

"Because older adults are more prone to musculoskeletal injury, low-impact exercises are ideal for them," exercise physiologist Richard Cotton told MedicineNet. "But all men and women can benefit."

Playing sports is easy for homeowners at Del Webb's Sun City Hilton Head community, which has numerous opportunities including a tennis league, softball team and state-of-the-art sports complex.

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