91-year-old man breaks world record in bench pressing

PHOTO: 91-year-old man breaks world record in bench pressing

A 91-year-old US man has broken the world record for the bench press for his age group by over 20kg.

Mr Sy Perlis set the record by benching 85kg at the 90-and-over age category at the National Push/Pull Bench Press and Deadlift Championships recently, AP reported.

The previous record was 61kg and had stood since 2005.

Mr Perlis, the winner of world titles in 2010 and 2011 in the 85-year-old to 89-year-old division, took up weight training when he was 60. He entered his first powerlifting championship competition five years ago after encouragement from his personal trainer, Reuters reported.

"It gave me the opportunity to do something to test myself for one thing, and I didn't have to run around to do it as you would in some other sports," the barrel-chested World War II veteran said.

"I got a lot of satisfaction out of it, and it made me feel good, and it was good for me," he added.

President of the World Association of Benchers and Deadlifters Gus Rethwisch said Mr Perlis is an inspiration.

"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 Mr Perlis has)," Mr Rethwisch said.

Mr Chhanda Dutta, chief of the clinical gerontology branch of the US National Institute on Aging, said it is a common misconception that exercise is unsafe for older people.

"The risk of leading a sedentary lifestyle is much greater than anything related to exercise," Mr Dutta said.

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