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My new role model: a 93 year old bodybuilder

9 November 2012

Not going to the gym; what’s your excuse? I’ll go tomorrow; today has been a busy day. Oh but there is a good program on T.V tonight, maybe next time. I would, but I’m too tired. None of these excuses seemed to have crossed the mind of Dr Charles Eugster.  At 93 years of age, he sports a body that anyone would love to have. So what incentive could possibly drive an 87 year old Charles to start picking up the weights and flex his muscles for six years? “The idea is to turn the heads of the sexy young 70-year-old girls on the beach,” says Charles, a reason as good as any.

As he began to notice himself becoming overweight, he responded by hiring a former Mr. Universe to become his trainer, which is one alternative to Weight Watchers. Being a dentist for 30 years, he rarely had time to sculpt his body, as he did in his earlier years when he won numerous fitness competitions and rowing medals, but now he visits the gym three to four times a week. To give a brief idea of his remarkable fitness, he recently achieved the following at a championship: 57 dips, 61 chin-ups, 50 push-ups and 48 abdominal crunches, each in 45 seconds. Schwarzenegger himself would have to nod in approval at those accomplishments.

Charles, the super senior citizen, made the sensible analogy “If you have taken care of your old car, it won’t cost you so much. But it you have neglected your car it’s going to cost you a lot.” But is this how all pensioners should behave?

Just the sheer obscurity of the phrase ’93 year old bodybuilder’ had me bewildered when I first read it, though in part jealous of his fitness levels too. We tend to think of sports and athletics feats as a young person’s game. However Eugster is just as much of a role model for inspiring fellow gym goers worldwide like me, as any of the younger competitors.

The gym is not just for those who want to bulge out their t-shirts in a flattering fashion and exercise doesn’t have to involve going to the gym. It’s important for people of all ages to exercise and in whatever form suits. Plus exercise is beneficial for your psychological state, as well as your physical state. Working up a sweat sets off chemical reactions in your brain which releases all kinds of crazy hormones and chemicals, such as endorphins, serotonin and dopamine (can you tell I’ve been on Google?). Personally for me, leaving the gym gives me a mental and physical satisfaction. So whatever the age, get out and get involved.

So when you next contemplate skipping a workout, think of Dr Charles Eugster, and ponder whether your excuse will be plausible in the eyes of the 93 year old bodybuilder.