Last Word
Charles Eugster

Eugster is a bodybuilder who has spoken on wellness at TED, starred in a music video and who acts as an ambassador for fitness. He’s also 93 years old and only started exercising four years ago, finds Tom Walker

By Tom Walker | Published in Leisure Management 2013 issue 1


You are 93 and remarkably fit. What’s your secret?
The secret is work, diet, exercise, in that order of importance.

Have you always been into fitness?
No, I only started fitness training at the age of 89.

Is enough being done to promote active lifestyles among older people?
No. The main problem is the fact that too little is known. Research on physical activity, diet or even the effect of work on health in old age is practically non-existent above the age of 70. It’s a shocking fact that there are too few healthy individuals above the age of 80 to be able to conduct meaningful research. Responsibility rests with research facilities and promotion by government, as well as health agencies.

Are private health clubs doing enough to attract older people as members?
Most private health clubs do little or nothing to attract older people as members, in spite of the fact that this group has the time and money to work out.

What should clubs do?
Older people prefer to train in groups of their own age, and ideally with coaches of the same age group. More importantly, older members should be tested, goals set and then re-tested at regular intervals, with the results sent to their physician. These results would become part of the patient’s medical history.

Club membership could, in certain cases – like in Japan – be restricted to those aged over 70, or there could be an off-peak membership for the elderly.

Treatment of disease by exercise is receiving more attention by the medical profession, but there's an extreme lack of co-operation between physicians and health clubs. This represents a huge missed opportunity. Almost all over-65s have one or more chronic diseases. Some clubs in Germany are already licensed to treat diabetes with exercise. Clubs could certainly offer more along these lines, perhaps setting up a food service together with supplements.

There’s so much more that clubs could do to attract more older people.

How often do you exercise yourself?
It depends on my goals. At present I’m aiming for the World Masters Championship in athletics and rowing, and so I’m currently training three to four times a week.

If you were given free rein as health minister, what would you change?
We’re facing medical costs that will be so dramatic that a new health system will have to be devised. If the health minister were a dictator, food rationing would be an option. I would drastically cut health insurance for the obese, and a belly tax could be considered.

What are your views on GP referrals?
GPs prescribing exercise to patients is the future, but the fitness industry isn't ready. Coaches must have the right training, and the exercise treatment must be covered by health insurance.

What is the number one weakness in the fitness industry?
The lack of a positive public profile.

And its greatest strength?
The greatest strength of the fitness industry is its huge potential.

From Health Club Management, January, 2013

 


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Leisure Management
2013 issue 1

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Leisure Management - Charles Eugster

Last Word

Charles Eugster


Eugster is a bodybuilder who has spoken on wellness at TED, starred in a music video and who acts as an ambassador for fitness. He’s also 93 years old and only started exercising four years ago, finds Tom Walker

Tom Walker, Leisure Media
Eugster's motto is: "Trifles make perfection, but perfection is not a trifle" PHOTO: www.potoczna.com

You are 93 and remarkably fit. What’s your secret?
The secret is work, diet, exercise, in that order of importance.

Have you always been into fitness?
No, I only started fitness training at the age of 89.

Is enough being done to promote active lifestyles among older people?
No. The main problem is the fact that too little is known. Research on physical activity, diet or even the effect of work on health in old age is practically non-existent above the age of 70. It’s a shocking fact that there are too few healthy individuals above the age of 80 to be able to conduct meaningful research. Responsibility rests with research facilities and promotion by government, as well as health agencies.

Are private health clubs doing enough to attract older people as members?
Most private health clubs do little or nothing to attract older people as members, in spite of the fact that this group has the time and money to work out.

What should clubs do?
Older people prefer to train in groups of their own age, and ideally with coaches of the same age group. More importantly, older members should be tested, goals set and then re-tested at regular intervals, with the results sent to their physician. These results would become part of the patient’s medical history.

Club membership could, in certain cases – like in Japan – be restricted to those aged over 70, or there could be an off-peak membership for the elderly.

Treatment of disease by exercise is receiving more attention by the medical profession, but there's an extreme lack of co-operation between physicians and health clubs. This represents a huge missed opportunity. Almost all over-65s have one or more chronic diseases. Some clubs in Germany are already licensed to treat diabetes with exercise. Clubs could certainly offer more along these lines, perhaps setting up a food service together with supplements.

There’s so much more that clubs could do to attract more older people.

How often do you exercise yourself?
It depends on my goals. At present I’m aiming for the World Masters Championship in athletics and rowing, and so I’m currently training three to four times a week.

If you were given free rein as health minister, what would you change?
We’re facing medical costs that will be so dramatic that a new health system will have to be devised. If the health minister were a dictator, food rationing would be an option. I would drastically cut health insurance for the obese, and a belly tax could be considered.

What are your views on GP referrals?
GPs prescribing exercise to patients is the future, but the fitness industry isn't ready. Coaches must have the right training, and the exercise treatment must be covered by health insurance.

What is the number one weakness in the fitness industry?
The lack of a positive public profile.

And its greatest strength?
The greatest strength of the fitness industry is its huge potential.

From Health Club Management, January, 2013


Originally published in Leisure Management 2013 issue 1

Published by Leisure Media Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385 | Contact us | About us | © Cybertrek Ltd