Cheers to You Kris Thorsness!

Meet Kris Thorsness of Victor, NY.  If you want to be inspired, get to know Kris.  She is 57 and she’ll be the first to tell you that you have a choice to live or die… “You have a choice every day,” says Kris.  Let me tell you, she lives.

At 24, she won Olympic Gold as a rower in the 1984 Olympics.  I love looking at her medal.  If only it could talk and tell you everything she went through to achieve that goal.  She is modest.  “The training was a lot, it was very focused, but it was simple,” Kris says.  “I didn’t have time for anything else.  It’s all I did.”

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Olympic Gold Medalist Kris Thorsness (center)

You might wonder where does one go after winning Olympic Gold, arguable the pinnacle of all sports achievement, at the age of 24.  You set a new goal, then another new goal, and then another.  “If you’re not pushing yourself, you’re stagnating,” says Kris.  “It’s all about perspective.”  Right after the Olympics she focused on getting her law degree.  She took a few years off from rowing but then got back into it.  She now serves on the Board of Directors for US Rowing.

Enter another new goal at age 50… playing ice hockey.  “I was speaking to a rowing friend in Wisconsin on the phone and asked her what she was up to.  She said she was playing hockey on a women’s team.”  “Well that’s pretty cool,” Kris thought.  “I’d like to try that.”  That day she called a local rink and inquired about any learn to skate programs.  She last skated in 6th grade and now was setting her mind on playing hockey.  This lady goes for it.  Call it luck or call it serendipity, that night this rink was starting a program to learn to play hockey.  “But I don’t have any equipment,” said Kris to the man on the phone.  He responded, “Well, we have a pro shop.”

The rest is history.  She bought all her gear that day including skates and she was on the ice that night learning how to play hockey.  She now plays on the Canandaigua Ladies women’s ice hockey team and is starting her 6th year.  She’s good too.  She plays defense and by the way, don’t mess with her goalie!

“I’ve heard sitting is the new smoking,” says Kris.  She believes this.  She’s had her share of injuries along the way as well as a heart attack.  She is smart and taking care of herself.  “I’m older, I get sore and I take longer to recover,” she added.  “That doesn’t mean I don’t push myself.”  “You have to keep pushing… that is how I’ve achieved my goals,” says Kris.  She added, “Sitting is the new smoking… especially after 50… especially after 50.”

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Kris Thorsness (left) of the Canandaigua Ladies Hockey Team


Welcome to AgingWell50 – the official blog of the Aging Well Academy and Achieve More Physical Therapy, PLLC. This is a forum about and for active adults who want the ability and the confidence to lead a long and healthy life. My name is Nancy Alexander and I am a physical therapist, certified strength and conditioning specialist and certified ACE senior fitness specialist. Are you ready to make these the best years of your life?


Just Like That

As we often try to do when the unthinkable happens, we try to understand and make sense out of it.  Over 50 people died at a country music festival.  More than 400 wounded.  They were singing… maybe even singing their favorite song.  They were dancing, they were happy, they were smiling.  They were thinking, “I am so incredibly happy right now… to be here with my friends and family and having the time of my life.”  I love music and I have often thought this very thought when attending shows at home and around the country.  And then it ends… just like that.  A life ends… just like that.  I don’t get it, I never will get it.  I am numb, I am mad, I am angry.  I am profoundly sad. 

Today happens to be my birthday.  I woke up to hugs from my husband, “Happy birthday, darlin’!”  Oh my life is so darn good.  Then I heard the news.  So, so sad. 

I had clients to see today and a class to teach.  “I must be focused,” I repeated to myself.  Still, between appointments, I went to my phone to see what was going on.  Soon I stopped looking.  “I just can’t right now.  The details will all come out.  I must focus on my clients and what they need and want from me.”  I did just that.  They matter to me.

I also started to feel grateful. 

I am grateful that I made it to my 56th year. 

I am grateful for my husband.

I am grateful that my niece is in my life.

I am grateful that I have so many amazing friends near and far.

I am grateful that I am a physical therapist.

I am grateful I started my own business this past year.

I am grateful that I can somehow help aging adults feel better.

I am grateful that I can help others

I am grateful for doing…

I am grateful that I did not wait one second longer to start my business and follow my passion.

Thanks be to God in Heaven that I did what I did.

Thank God I continue to do what I want every single day.

I am so thankful that I am surrounded by fun, kind, and giving friends who inspire me every single day.

I am so grateful for everything I see when I look around me. 

Because of all of this, I am having the time of my life.

Have the time of your life.  And do it now.  Don’t wait another second.  You just may not have it… just like that.

sailboat on Lake George