FEELING GREAT: 95 and still swimming

SO last week I wrote to you about my little boy Harry starting gym class aged just 16 months.

And more specifically, how you’re never too young to start better health habits.

This week, let me jump to the other end of the age scale and tell you about a client of mine from Hartlepool named Syd (pictured with two of my secretaries and a birthday cake we made for him).

He celebrated his 95th birthday yesterday and he’s been coming to see me for a few years now and does so for what he describes as an “MOT”.

And what he means by that is there’s not always something wrong, he just likes to get checked over and his body parts kept in fine tune!

And that’s because he loves to keep active. His independence and mobility are to important to him and knows that if he can keep his lower back, his neck and his knees “moving”, he’s got a better chance of maintaining both.

He’s a keen swimmer too. Not a day goes by where he isn’t in the swimming lanes of the Mill House baths and he’s been doing so for over 30 years – something that he mentions as being largely responsible for how active he remains to this day.

And now that I’ve known him for long enough, I felt as though I could finally ask him the question I’ve always wanted to: “What’s the secret to living to 95 and still being so active?”

His reply: “You’ve got to have a reason to get up and always keep looking forward”.

Now, I suspect one of Syd’s reasons for getting up is NOT to go for a swim – there’s more to it than that. I’d say it’s the “social interaction” that going for a swim offers Syd that is the real driving force behind him doing 20 lengths each day.

See, it’s much easier to force your self to keep active if you have multiple reasons for doing so.

Let me explain: Think about trying to lose weight. It’s a lot easier to stick to the meal plan if you know you’ve got a bridesmaids outfit to fit into in a few months time – then there’s the added bonus that your arteries will be less clogged with fat, too!

And exercise is the same. Often to keep fit or, to feel healthy, ISN’T enough of a motivation to get up off the couch and go do it.

Especially NOT when the weather is like it is right now.

So the moral of this weeks story, is, well, simply this:

“You’ve got to keep moving”.

And it’s easier to do that if you have more than one reason for doing it.

If you can get into the good habit of swimming, cycling, or even just walking for 20 minutes per day, then those knee and lower back joints have a much better chance of working for longer had you not.

Another thing about Syd that I wanted to share with you: The shoes he wears are those velcro fastening, soft cushioned shoes you can buy from some where like Clarke’s or Marks and Spencer… the perfect choice for anyone looking to find the right amount of comfort and support for ageing knees or painful ankle joints.