A couple of years ago, I was so pumped up when I discovered I was able to do more than 15 pull-ups in a row, reaching all-time highs. After years of battling chronic illness, it had been quite some time since I felt quite that strong and nimble. I felt as if I were channeling the gymnast I had been as a child who broke records in school for the most pull-ups done by a girl (FYI, I could also do more than most boys my age).
More than two decades later, I was thrilled when my body started responding with more strength and flexibility again. I give much credit to yoga for reawakening those muscle fibers, but I can’t deny the power of a strong foundation—and great genetics. I was immediately humbled when I found out my father, pushing 70 at the time, revealed that he did multiple sets of more than 20 pull-ups.
So perhaps this is why I’m not as shocked as others might be to read the news that a 54-year-old, Mark Jordan, broke the record for the number of pull-ups completed in 24 hours on Nov. 3. Still, 4,321 pull-ups in one day is a hugely impressive number for a human of any age or gender. Jordan beat the old record by 111 pull-ups.
Equally as cool, each pull-up Jordan executed raised money for the Hammons Education Leadership Program, a non-profit in Corpus Christi, Texas that provides youth mentoring and career coaching.
It just goes to show that age alone need not dictate your fitness level. As I inch even closer to 40, the last couple of years have seen me at my fittest and strongest as an adult. One day, I aspire to be like 96-year-old Master Tao Porchon-Lynch. In 2012, Guinness Book of World Records officially deemed her the oldest living yoga teacher at the age of 93.