Sharon Simmons in pink (rt) trying out for the Dallas Cowboys cheerleading squad...at age 55

Sharon Simmons in pink (rt) trying out for the Dallas Cowboys cheerleading squad…at age 55

Saw this article about a 56-year-old woman, Sharon Simmons, who has worked out for over 35 years and started competing in fitness competitions just seven years ago, at 49. Of the 20 she entered, she came in first in nine and placed in two national competitions. She also wrote a couple of books about fitness, not letting age and others’ opinions hold you back, and at 55 tried out for a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader slot. You have to admire her spirit and fearlessness to take emotional risks.

No doubt she is exceptional with her physical abilities and looks at her age. Few grandmothers look like her. And even fewer women in their mid-fifties. But her attitude and life style are part of the reason. Check out her web site . And here are excerpts of the article, which includes eight of her lessons for aging and living well.

the Texas granny

the Texas granny

1. “It’s really not all about winning.”

Though Simmons has a long list of fitness competition wins, having a place in the winners’ circle isn’t what motivates her.

“It’s about getting there,” she realized after her first fitness competition in Las Vegas in 2006.

3. “Never allow anyone else to set your limitations for you.”

Over the course of her fitness modeling career, Simmons has had her fair share of criticism from friends, family and strangers alike, she said.

“People think that people over 50 should be on a porch in a rocking chair… Where would I be if I listened to them?” she said with a laugh. “We are in control of what we do to a certain extent. There’s this stigma that ‘Oh, they’re grandparents, they should really start slowing down or retiring.’ Well, why? We’re only just beginning!”

7. “Don’t lose sight of your goals. If you get sidetracked, get back on.”

Don’t beat yourself up if you find yourself veering off course from your goals, Simmons advised. Failing to get back on course is worse than dusting yourself off and trying again. “[Figure out] how do I get there and then establish those steps,” she said, “because it will be small steps that get [you] to that goal.”