While the rest of the country is failing health reports with obesity and diabetes rates climbing, 91-year-old Sy Perlis is breaking world records.
The champ from Surprise, Ariz., spent his day yesterday breaking records and a light sweat when he hoisted a 187.2-pound weight over his chest.
He broke the World Association of Benchers and Deadlifters record in the 90-and-over age division Saturday at the National Push-Pull Bench Press and Dead Lift Championships in Phoenix. The final lift broke an association record of 135 pounds that had been in place since 2005.
“At an age when some avoid exercise, Perlis has become an athlete,” said association president and event organizer Gus Rethwisch.
“We’ve had a lot of lifters in their middle 80s, late 80s and occasionally we get one 90 and over, but they’ve never inspired people (like Perlis has),” Rethwisch said.
Perlis began weightlifting when he was 60 but entered his first championship competition five years ago at the suggestion of his trainer.
Today he is a seasoned champion.
Perlis trains five days a week. His routine includes cardiovascular exercise and weightlifting with specialized bench-pressing training once a week.
Perlis’ wife, Joan, 69, said he encourages her to stay active.
“I always say if it weren’t for my husband, I’d be at home watching TV and eating bonbons,” she said. “He’s my motivator. He makes me work out, too.”