Play On: The New Science of Elite Performance at Any Age (Paperback)
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A lively, deeply reported tour of the science and strategies helping athletes like Tom Brady, Serena Williams, Carli Lloyd, and LeBron James redefine the notion of “peak age.”
Season after season, today’s sports superstars seem to defy the limits of physical aging that inevitably sideline their competitors. How much of the difference is genetic destiny and how much can be attributed to better training, medicine, and technology? Is athletic longevity a skill that can be taught or a mental discipline that can be mastered? Can career-ending injuries be predicted and avoided?
Journalist Jeff Bercovici spent extensive time with professional and Olympic athletes, coaches, and doctors to find the answers to these questions. His quest led him to training camps, tournaments, hospitals, antiaging clinics, and Silicon Valley startups, where he tried cutting-edge treatments and technologies firsthand and investigated the realities behind health fads like alkaline diets, high-intensity interval training, and cryotherapy. Through fascinating profiles and first-person anecdotes, Bercovici illuminates the science and strategies extending the careers of elite older athletes, uncovers the latest advances in fields from nutrition to brain science to virtual reality, and offers empowering insights about how the rest of us can find peak performance at any age.
About the Author
JEFF BERCOVICI is a journalist, sports fan, and athlete, very much in that order. He is currently the San Francisco bureau chief for Inc., covering tech and entrepreneurship, and a former senior editor and writer at Forbes, where he reported from the Green Bay Packers’ training camp. He has also written for Playboy, GQ, Details, Glamour, and the New York Times.
“When it comes to aging, athletes are like canaries in the coal mine—they feel its effects decades before the rest of us. In Play On, Jeff Bercovici gives us a fascinating look at how older elite athletes use science, strategy, and wisdom to keep up with (and often beat) the youngsters. Playing keeps us young, and this is a must-read for anyone who believes age is no reason to quit.” —Bill Gifford,New York Times best-selling author of Spring Chicken andLedyard
“As an athlete who is competing past my so-called ‘prime,’ Play On goes to the heart of some of the biggest questions around longevity and performance that I’ve been pondering these past few years. It’s an utterly fascinating and entertaining blend of science and storytelling that anyone interested in staying fit as they age should read. (And, if you’re like me, underline obsessively.)” —Shalane Flanagan, four-time Olympian, winner of the 2017 New York City Marathon, and New York Times best-selling author of Run Fast. Eat Slow.
“From the surprising science of why Olympic cyclists try to think like kids in competition, to the strategy behind Carli Lloyd’s rise from benchwarmer to soccer phenom, Play On illuminates a dimension of high-performance sports seldom seen on prime time. Told through an engaging cast of characters, Bercovici’s book is a must-read not only for the athlete trying to gain an edge, but for the rest of us interested in living longer, healthier lives. In richly engaging prose, the mysteries of the long and strong careers of today’s sports stars are revealed—along with fascinating lessons that could change how all of us view health and fitness.” —Mary Pilon, best-selling author ofThe Kevin Show andThe Monopolists
“Energetic romp through sports gerontology . . . Bercovici smartly separates science from quackery, while offering colorful reportage . . . Bercovici offers stimulating information and practical insights to health-minded readers.” —Publishers Weekly
“In Plimpton-esque moments, Bercovici tackles various aspects of the fitness-for-elders movement . . . A solid work of sports journalism and encouraging reading for jocks who are late to the game but committed to the win all the same.” —Kirkus Reviews