Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Staying Fit At 80 For A Long, Happy Life

"‘I've had three buddies of mine who quit working out in their 50s,’ he said. ‘They had arthritis, lower back problems, so they just stopped. Guess what — they're all planted now. They're in the ground.’ ‘They say when you get older, you're supposed to retire, sit on the porch, rock in a chair and take it easy. My philosophy is just the opposite. That's the time you have to get out and walk and move. Movement's life. When you quit moving, it's all over.’ He wishes he could inspire more people closer to his age and that health clubs catered more to senior citizens. He maintains many of them are too intimidated to come in and work out, and that they surrender to their body's natural aging obstacles. ‘Hey, I've got arthritis, I've got a bad shoulder, I've got a sore lower back, I've got an elbow screwed together (from ramming into a boat dock while water skiing),’ he said. ‘But it's mind over matter. Everybody who gets old has aches and pains. You can give in to 'em or fight 'em — I choose to fight.’ Tony Riccardi, the Livermore club's manager, said Simonds is such a presence that 24 Hour Fitness tried to hire him. Simonds said no, because he didn't want to be accountable to someone else's schedule. ‘I think this is fun,’ he said. ‘A lot of older people see it as work. Their doctor sends them here. But I love this, and it's also my social scene. I'm not being melodramatic, but if I have to go, I'd rather go here in the gym because I know I'll go happy.’”

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