Saturday, July 26, 2008

Inspirations from elderly

Recently, i came across The Straits Times newspaper supplement "Mind your body" which covered the topic on "Growing old, staying active". The author published an article on maintaining health as Singaporeans' life expectancy increases. The article also includes elderly mens' interview. Two of the interviewee gives me some inspirations in running. Below are the abstracts of the two interview taken from the newspaper:

Mr Chan Meng Hui,78 (Photo from The Straits Times)

It is a miracle that Mr Chan Meng Hui is still alive. The self-confessed "naughty boy" used to smoke one to two packets of cigarettes a day and he drank heavily every night.

It was only after he retired from his job as an insurance executive when he was 55 years old that he decided to turn his life around.

The 78-year-old, who now runs a courier service business', 'Said: "It's whether you treasure your life or not. I've seen so many friends die after retirement. I had 10 or 12 drinking kakis who are all gone.

Mr Chan discovered the joys of' running after retirement and promptly got hooked.

When he turned 56, he ran his first marathon. Since then, he has taken part in 76 marathons around the world in countries like Norway, Japan, China and Switzerland.

He runs at least 7km after work everyday and meets his friends from running club MR25 at MacRitchie Reservoir every Sunday morning for 25km run. He said: "My target is to run 100 marathons."

Besides running, he also keeps and himself busy with community choir practice and managing his courier business. He said: "I don't even have time for to watch TV. I'm so busy that every a week passes very fast."

Mr Richard Khoo, 84 (Photo from The Straits Times)

Mr Richard Khoo misses running.The 84-year-old retiree used to run at least 10km every day.

Now he spends more time running after his wife, Lily, 80, who has Alzheimer's disease and is prone to wandering off.

Mr Khoo said: "1 don't run much now because I've to take care of Lily. I want her to come running with me but she's been lost three times." He added: "People in our neighbourhood now help me watch out for her."

The former civil servant has taken part in 44 marathons around the world, including runs in Japan, South Korea and Malaysia. He will attempt the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon this year.

He only started running at the age of 55 after he retired. He said: "Before i turned 55, r was working all the time. I swam but not regularly and I wasn't very active."
His son, Alan, now 54, introduced him to running. Mr Khoo said: "He took me to the National Stadium to show me people of all ages running. He also bought me a pair of running shoes."

Mr Khoo armed himself with a stopwatch and has never stopped to catch his breath since. He said: "The best marathon I've done was in Melbourne, where 1 did 42km under five hours. I run better in colder climates."

He is maniacal about health these days, popping garlic, gingko and omega-3 fish oil pills every day to give his body a boost.

Breakfast is a hearty mix of cereal, coarse rice powder, wheatgerm, cheese and water. He skips lunch and dinner, preferring to "eat only when my body needs it".
Asked why exercise is important for the elderly, he said: "It's important to keep physically active even when you're older. Without that, you'll have health problems."

However, Mrs Khoo's condition has taken a toll on him in recent months. His last medical check-up in June showed that his blood pressure had shot up and that he had developed diabetes. He now takes medication to control his blood sugar levels.

Although he has stopped running regularly, he is confident that he will be able to complete the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon in December.

He said: "I should be able to pace myself and run it at a relaxing pace."

He plans to keep within an average time of running 1km in 13 to 14 minutes.

He added: "I'll be running marathons until the end of time."

The articles also mentioned about five behaviours in elderly men that are associated with living long and well. According to Dr Laurel Yates, a geriatrician, elderly men should:
  1. Abstain from smoking
  2. Manage their weight
  3. Control their blood pressure
  4. Avoid diabetes
  5. Exercise regularly
To sum up, you never too old to enjoy running......

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