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Laird Hamilton: this is how, at 57, the king of surfing keeps fit

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The waves and the sun. But also meditation, saunas and a special coffee: this is how surfer Laird Hamilton managed to stop time

Eugenio Spagnuolo

For surfers he is a living legend. Inventor, among other things, of the big wave riding and of stand-up paddling (paddle surfing). And a few years ago Laird Hamilton he also made headlines around the world when, in the midst of a storm in Hawaii, he managed to rescue 75 people. To attract attention, a few days ago, was instead an interview with him at the American edition of Men’s Health, to which Hamilton, born in 1964, reveals the secrets of his eternal youth. Sure, years and years of riding the ocean waves helped shape his physique. But there is also more …

The thermal shock of the morning

Every morning, as he opens his eyes, Hamilton throws himself in the shower. It does not do it (only) for a matter of personal hygiene: the jet of water serves to give a thermal shock to the body and to stimulate the proteins which, according to him, help to restore damaged cells. Hot water or cold water? Hamilton uses both, depending on the occasion and mood. Sometimes he even indulges in a sauna. Everything, just to subject the body to a small thermal shock, to wake it up properly.

Active meditation

Another secret of his is active (or dynamic) meditation: that which occurs spontaneously during a physical activity and the perpetual and constant motion of the body produces a beneficial estrangement. Hamilton suggests trying a cardio activity (rowing, biking, running, swimming, etc.) that we already master and therefore does not require our mental commitment. “You have to be good enough to let yourself go”, explains the surfer, who also suggests how to get to the state of active meditation: “detach yourself from the present moment and look beyond. Don’t just pay attention to what you are doing. Just be able to do it ”.

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Coffee with alcohol

Hamilton is an admirer of bulletproof, coffee with the addition of a fat dose like, for example, clarified butter. He says the mix gives him a boost of energy at breakfast, when training forces him to just one meal a day. In reality there are no studies that confirm the beneficial effect of a little butter in coffee, but if he says so …

Always in training

Being the king of surfing, in the past 50 years, means continuing to train non-stop. It goes without saying that Laird Hamilton is a first-rate athlete and what is true for him does not apply to everyone. But this does not mean that once you have passed the “door” you should stop exercising. On the contrary. “We need to be aware of the damage suffered by the body over time due to repetitive training movements,” he warns in the interview. “But I also think we value aging too much.”

The secret of fitness is not to stop moving. But “take even more care of ourselves, be informed, give ourselves a better nutritional education”. Then, learn to grasp the pleasant aspect of physical activity. According to Hamilton, the trick – past middle age – is to choose activities that are also fun: “Look for the things that interest you and that amuse you”. For example, replacing the boring exercise bike with a (real) bike ride, where we don’t just watch the stopwatch but let time pass by itself.

Be inspired by… Young people

But, perhaps, the real, great secret of Hamilton’s eternal youth is another: do not stop looking for models to inspire you. Which in his case they are not only the great lions of surfing, but also the young athletes with whom he confronts every day. “As young people, we have adults to inspire us, but as we get older, we have to do the reverse and inspire ourselves to young people because they are the only ones who are really motivated enough to do the things we like too.” And speaking of his age, 57 in March, Hamilton says he doesn’t consider himself old at all. “Those I relate to, energetic and motivated like me, are younger. Look for people who are just as good as you are, and the same thing will happen to you ”.

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