‘It’s Never Too Late to Take Control of Your Health’

A 97-year-old may be just the inspiration to get us all off the couch

by Carleen Wild | Updated 16 Mar 2017 at 7:53 AM

It only took 85 years to get him going — but look how far he’s come!

Dr. Charles Eugster is proof that none of us is too old to start moving — or sprinting.

The retired 97-year-old dentist from London is a two-time, record-holding sprinter and body builder. He holds the world sprint record in the 200-meter dash for those over age 95. He also holds the British indoor record for 60 meters, as well as the British Masters outdoor records for 100 meters.

And get this: He only started exercising when he was 85. "The good news is, it's never too late to take control of your health," said Dr. Travis Stork, who featured Eugster on his show, "The Doctors," this week.

"I love that this guy has taken it upon himself to forget age and learn something new," said one fitness trainer.

Eugster believes the general perception of old age is "wrong" and that any of us can set goals at any age. He feels that if people continue to work out in their later years, they can reverse the hands of time, even build muscle by working out.

Fitness experts hope that seeing the joy on his face and the shape he's in at 97 years old inspires others to get up and move.

"This is the motivation most of America needs when they claim one of hundreds of reasons for avoiding exercise," said Alex Haschen, a Maryland-based fitness trainer. "I love that this guy has taken it upon himself to forget age and learn something new."

While it's important to start out small and focus on exercise that helps with balance and strength, it's just important to start somewhere, said Haschen.

"The older population can gain serious health benefits simply by starting a daily walking routine — 10 minutes a day and working their way up to whatever distance is comfortable," Haschen said. "If walking is an issue for them, there are 'chair' workouts that can be found online that allow participants to move their muscles from a seated position."

One of the most significant benefits comes in the form of bone health, he noted. As we age our bones can become weaker, due in part to the lack of use and resistance placed upon them. Numerous studies have shown that exercising can help reduce and reverse this.

Related: Why You're Not Losing Weight

"For him to begin exercising at age 85 makes him my hero," said Christine King, a medical exercise specialist and founder and CEO of Your Best Fit Inc., in Boynton Beach, Florida. "It's what we preach every single day: It's never too late to start. Then, to have begun running a short year ago and his time was ONLY three times slower than Olympian, Usain Bolt ... almost miraculous!"

"When we become active, we're saving our lives one workout at a time," she said. "Quality of life, energy, and an overall feeling of renewal [are] significantly increased — exercise is the only fountain of youth. Anyone at any age, specifically older adults who want to feel better and rid themselves of pain and ailments, need to engage with a qualified professional who understands how to work with seniors and their particular issues."

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