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Fitness and the Elderly

Updated: Apr 19, 2022

This blog happens to be about my dad. My charismatic dad is 83 years old. He’s funny, handsome, a great cook, an awesome housekeeper, loves a whisky and always makes me laugh, and I mean belly laugh with the things he comes out with. We are so much alike in so many ways. We are both Geminis. We both have a passion for exercise and healthy living. I have his features, in a feministic form thank goodness. And we both have the same sense of humour, sometimes we roll around in fits of laughter while other members of the family just stare at us in wonderment, thinking WT?

He is a role model to many and he’s still willing to give anything a go! He is competitive, young at heart, healthy and very happy with his life and with what he has achieved so far. He also looks forward to what he is yet to experience in the years to come. He is a father of 4 and a Grandpa to 9. His first wife, my mum Clare Carmel, died many years ago now from breast cancer at the age of only 54. She would be 85 now (forever in our hearts Mum ) but he found love again and remarried on his 70th birthday which was a blessing for him and a wonderful celebration for us all. He suffered for years with a neuralgia disorder which is commonly known as ‘The Suicide Disease’, as it’s so debilitating. But even through those painful times he always smiled and made a joke out of it. He has since undergone a very successful procedure which has rid him of this condition, thank goodness! But, he never complained. He just sucked it up and got on with it. That’s what he does.

He certainly doesn’t see himself, or conduct himself for that matter, as an old man. He complained about the last holiday he went on as he said it was full of old people and he had to continually help them on and off the bus. Here I am thinking he was with a very elderly group but I later found out that most of them were not much older than 65!

So, I decided to interview dad, to see what he had to say about ageing and fitness and life. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did but mind you, there were quite a number of comments left out!

Me: What health issues do you have?

Dad: My only issues are minor which are related to old age. Like hearing, skin cancers, and baldness though I still have more hair than my son and sons-in-law! I do however have a hearing aid. But, I don't see it as a liability. I see it as more of a Godsend for when I don’t wish to hear what’s going on around me I can simply remove the aid and tune out for awhile! (Though it infuriates others when I can't here and they have to repeat themselves several times!)

Me: Do you take any supplements, medication?

Dad: No. Occasionally I need to take an antacid tablet. It’s usually if I have a wee bit too much to drink. I blame this on a particular son-in-law though.

Me: What do you eat?

Dad: Anything really. My diet is diverse. I don’t avoid any types of food though I don’t drink carbonated drinks, never have, and too much spice does not agree with me either. I do try to have a balanced diet and if I see the belly getting a bit rounder and I start to look like a ‘turtle smuggler’ then I do something about it. I suppose you could call me a bit old fashioned. I eat meat and three veg. I am very weight conscious though and I don’t like to be overweight.

Me: Do you meditate?

Dad: I have been very fortunate to learn about yoga from my daughter, so I would do the meditation in her yoga classes which I attended for many years. Though I would always fall asleep as she sings in meditation and it’s so beautiful that I just drift off. (aww thanks dad) I would get a gentle kick from my wife as my snoring is as loud as a trombone with a slightly different pitch! Seriously though, what is meditation? I can calm my thoughts and concentrate on things by simply doing crosswords. I also read a lot which I find relaxes my mind and takes me away from life’s little burdens, though I rarely have any of those at all these days.

Me: What is your weekly fitness regime?

Dad: I take this very seriously. I walk an average of 5 to 10 kms, 5 days a week. I attend a circuit class at our gym once a week for an hour. I do an hour of yoga/Pilates a week plus an hour of aqua aerobics each week. I also train at the gym; that is I use the equipment, rowing machine, cable machine and free weights. It’s important to keep your bones strong, particularly in your latter years where calcium gets depleted. Weight training does this and so much more.

Me: What are your hobbies?

Dad: I love cooking, which allows me to keep a handle on what I eat. I play pool, walk, cryptic crosswords and as I mentioned above, I love reading. I read all the time. Reading educates us and keeps the brain active too, as does the crossword puzzles. We are never to old to learn new things. I really love gardening but my wife and I have just moved from acreage to unit living, which I am enjoying, but I do miss the garden I must say.

Me: What keeps you young?

Dad: I manage to associate with quite a few young people and I get on really well with my grandchildren and their friends. This, I think, allows for one to have more of an open mind and to have a younger perspective on life. I am not what you would call an old fuddy-duddy at all. In fact, most of my grandkids seek me out, which is really nice and complementary as they really love to hang with their Grandpa and of course I so enjoy their company. Oh, and whisky? Did you know that whisky, when consumed in moderation, is the best preventative for Alzheimer’s? I hope you remember that. (Sorry about the pun!)

Me: How do you feel in your mind?

Dad: I am very happy and content in my life. I am still able to do all the things that I wish to do. I do know that I am lucky in that regard but living a healthy, active life certainly does have its advantages as you age.

Me: How do you feel in your body?

Dad: I am very active, and again I still can do pretty much whatever I want. I am not restricted in any way. Though I have given up my yearly Xmas day competition with Trishna, the one writing this blog, where we would hold a broom stick in both hands and jump back and forth over it without letting it go. The last time I tried I broke the broom in half and cut my leg so I did recognise that it was time to hang up the reigns, so to speak, but I reckon I could still beat her! Give me a snooker table though and I will give you a fair bit of competition and, if you want to arm wrestle me, then bring it on!

Me: What advice would you give people who are in their 60’s and beyond to help them live a happy, healthy life well into their 8o’s and 90’s?

Dad: Challenge yourself. Don’t think you can’t do things and don’t use old age as an excuse. Just try, you may surprise yourself. Maintain your friendships. Keep the old as they are gold and embrace meeting new friends and invite them in to your circle of friends too as at this age it can bring a different perspective and dynamic into your life. Be grateful and be kind but at the same time don’t waste precious time being with those that bring you down. Stay positive and surround yourself with positive happy people.

Me: What do you enjoy most about your life?

Dad: I am very fortunate that I have very few health issues. I am fit, mentally alert and partially deaf. But as I mentioned above, this can be a blessing in disguise! I have a wonderful relationship with my wife, children and grandchildren which brings me a lot of happiness and, at times, unpredictability which keeps me on my toes and of course good old-fashioned love. After all, love is everything. I just threw that in for Trish as that’s one of her sayings lol.

Me: Thanks Dad. X

I must say this was a lot of fun doing this with Dad. We laughed so much and it did take awhile to get through the questions but I left him with a full and happy heart. He really is one in a million and I am so very grateful that he is still fighting fit, happy and healthy at 84. He is also full of such wisdom too, which I love. Wisdom and authenticity. Sometimes though he is a little too authentic if you get my drift!

Bye for now,

Trishna x

Dad and his wife Sandra, his children and grandchildren.

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