'Karate Kid' Ralph Macchio Says You're Never Too Old for Extreme Sports

At 52, 'The Karate Kid' Ralph Macchio is still focused on health and fitness. Guess which extreme sport he helped bring to the Senior Games.

Ralph Macchio

Photo: AP

If you're like me, you love a good challenging workout. You know when you push yourself to a realistic limit, and you are getting stronger, better, and healthier. Although some people may be intimidated, "extreme sports" can actually be fun and good for you.

One person who is all about extreme sports is actor Ralph Macchio. Earlier this year, he teamed up with Post Shredded Wheat to challenge the National Senior Games Association to introduce a new extreme sport to the competition. Now the verdict is in: Judo is the new sport.

We interviewed the 52-year-old star of The Karate Kid and My Cousin Vinny about how he stays healthy and in top shape. Here's what he had to say.

STACK: Why are health and wellness important to you?

Ralph Macchio: Eating right and exercising are a necessary part of life. I've learned, especially over the last 10 years, it's easier to fall out of shape and things don't "snap back" as quickly as they did in those Karate Kid years. I want to keep on enjoying a healthy life, and that means sticking to good eating and exercise habits.

STACK: What do you do these days to eat right and stay active?

RM: I'm eating well. I make sure to get my fruits and veggies, protein, whole grains and fiber. I try to focus on portion control as much as I can. I set a goal to space out my meals and avoid the urge to snack mindlessly, especially after dinner in front of the TV.

I also exercise regularly and enjoy playing tennis and softball—anything cardio. My lifestyle is manageable and I have a routine, but I still have my vices too. I like donuts. I just don't overdo it.

STACK: You sound pretty motivated. What would you say to someone who gets bored easily with exercise?

RM: I get bored just like everyone else from time to time. But I find that if I am working out with a buddy, I'm committed to sticking to the workout by having someone else there to help motivate me.

I break up workouts into 10-minute training intervals, especially when I'm bored. Not only is it a nice distraction, it's good training too. Listening to great music also helps.

Finally, you should do something that interests you. Maybe you'd get less bored if your workout was more interesting—whether it's an extreme sport or a group class you'd actually enjoy. There's no point in dreading your workouts, because they have to get done.

STACK: Why does the Senior Games need more extreme competitive events?

RM: You're as old as you feel. Age is just a number. Participating in more extreme sports or even just trying something new can be exciting and fun.

STACK: Any words for someone who could compete but thinks extreme sports are too intimidating?

RM: Yes. Just try it. You might meet new people, learn some new skills, and you might be great at it. When I was asked to participate on "Dancing with the Stars," my initial thought was "No way. That's not me." But it turned out to be one of the most challenging and rewarding things I did in my life. Those people are athletes. If you're saying "extreme sports are not me," give it another thought. The Senior Games provide education, community, and support to help you become a champion.

Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock