Best exercises for over-50s

[00:17:53] John Deeks: [00:17:53] Okay, time to get fit. And here’s a man who’s the CEO of Fitness Australia gosh, doesn’t he know everything about it? Just to tell you about Fitness Australia, it’s the peak national fitness industry association working with with Australia to become more physical, active, and do a whole lot more. Barrie is talking about his passion, his experiences, including training, triathlons, and of course, very importantly, at this time when we perhaps can’t go to the gym like we would have or stay as active outside as we would have. This is a terrific time to speak to Barrie now, and he’s on the line. Barrie Elvish welcome.

[00:18:32] Barrie Elvish: [00:18:32] Thank you, John. It’s great to speak with you and  share our conversation with your listeners.

[00:18:37] John Deeks: [00:18:37] Absolutely now, the YourLifeChoices family really have been very concerned about what we can do about mental attitude at this time. And of course, fitness is a great way to help combat the feeling of lethargy, etc. at home. So what are some of the tips that you would give to our listeners?

[00:18:57] Barrie Elvish: [00:18:57] Well, where do you want to start? And John I can absolutely emphasize with you about the importance of exercise, not just for physical benefits. We know the impact of, because it was quite visible, the impact of exercise on obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular, etc. I know from personal experience, I actually started running 40 odd years ago to deal with my own mental wellbeing and I ended up going from running 2Ks around the block to doing marathons and half marathons and stuff like that. So I can absolutely emphasize the importance of exercise in keeping physical, mental, social wellbeing and emotionally it’s absolutely critical. And at the moment when we are going through all this upheaval, all this uncertainty, things changing on a daily basis, what we get used to and we accept today will change tonight because the government’s introduced some new policy or whatever – exercise is even more important now. And I guess from that point of view, John, it was really encouraging to hear the Prime Minister, the Chief Medical Officer, the Health Minister. I mean, they’ve all said you’ve got four reasons they go outside, and one of those was exercise. So at the highest levels in this country, people understand and appreciate the importance of exercise and maintaining it to a certain degree.

[00:20:09] John Deeks: [00:20:09] Isn’t it amazing over the last couple of decades how we’ve tied in mental health with exercise? Once mental health really wasn’t spoken of unless you had a severe problem. But now it’s very much recognized. And an antidote for that is, as you say, is exercise. What are you doing now you can’t go to your gym as regularly?

[00:20:30] Barrie Elvish: [00:20:30] Okay. Yeah. Well, as we were saying before, I mean, I go to the gym regularly and I go there for a number of reasons. First of all, to exercise clearly, but I view exercise as a means to an end, not just a thing in itself. I also go there for the social contact. I also go there for the routine in my life, it provides a regular routine. So I can’t do that now. So what are we doing? So I actually stopped running a few years ago because, just my age, I’m about to turn 68.

[00:20:59] John Deeks: [00:20:59] Ah you’re a kid.

[00:21:01] Barrie Elvish: [00:21:01] Oh a kid, yeah, compared to you I know John, you got one year on me. So I’ve started running again, getting the old joggers out and hearing all the creaks from bones and all that carry on. I was a little bit disappointed to read a few comments in the paper and from so called online experts in the media saying steer clear of the runners because they spit, and they sweat, and they do all kinds of things when they go by you. Well, I think we can have some common sense, we can run two meters apart or three meters apart, we can give people a wide berth. So, I have started running again and it’s bloody hard work. It is really hard work.

But then, you know, you just talked about mental wellbeing. The beauty of exercise is it gives you a natural hormonal, I guess, response rather than having to rely on chemicals or drugs and stuff like that. It gives you that natural hormonal response. So, if you’re stuck at home and can’t go running for whatever reason, there’s lots of other things you can do. If you’ve got a garden, get out and do some gardening, push the wheel barrel around. I’ve got some friends who can’t get exercise materials to use at home. They looked on Gumtree and saw the price of dumbbells and had a fit, they’ve just gone through the roof. So they’re using two liter juices and milk as weights.

[00:22:12] John Deeks: [00:22:12] Yup.

[00:22:13] Barrie Elvish: [00:22:13] You know, there’s a lot of things you can do. You can make up exercises at home. You can do yoga, you can do tai-chi. We have just launched last week, ‘Let’s keep moving Australia’ on our Fitness Australia website. There is a lot of activities, virtual training that people can log in and do that in their own home, in their own garden, no cost, age appropriate and I would encourage anyone who’s thinking about it to get online. It’s a very simple process, you just click the relevant site and you can put it on your TV. I guess one of the dangers of exercising at home, if you’re not used to it, is actually injuring yourself. To give you an analogy, if you were going to say ok, ‘I’m going to run a marathon in one year’s time’. You don’t go out and run 10 ks on your first run, you might run 150 meters, walk 50 or another a hundred and so on. So, don’t injure yourself. We aren’t as young as we used to be, I know we don’t want to hear that John – but we aren’t. So we have to take some precautions in place and go easy. Small steps to start with and we build up to a fitter state of physicality in our own body.

It’s very much context related as well, people depending on what existing ailments they may have, what weight they may be, what conditions they may have for other medical conditions as well. The last thing I’d be saying is just start exercising and go full ball for it. We aren’t like my son who goes to the gym and pumps iron every day. We are older. We have to take care of our bodies. We have to take care of our mental attitude, and we can’t expect to have a six pack tomorrow because at our age, I’m never going to get a six pack, let’s be honest. Mine are hiding underneath a stomach of fat, so it’s there somewhere! But you know, just do it in context, do it carefully, do it with consideration, take some advice from experts, go online. You can still use a personal trainer in these covid19 days, one on one. There’s heaps of stuff out there.

[00:24:11] John Deeks: [00:24:11] And we’re going to give the link to your website, which is absolutely free to get age appropriate information and exercises to do, before I do that, so I’m asking folks to get their pen and pad ready. Before I do that, tell me about Kokoda, I believe you. You’ve done the Kokoda trail?

[00:24:29] Barrie Elvish: [00:24:29] Yes I have actually John, I did that 10 years ago now. I did that just with my two sons, just the three of us and we did the full trek in just over four days. It was pretty full on. I did that for a couple of reasons, you know, I set myself a goal, something to do. It was just something I’ve always wanted to do. But also I had two sons who, we’d not drifted apart but I wanted to get back in connection with them and I thought it was a good thing to do. The bonding concept gets thrown around a lot, but it was a part of that exercise as well. And also one of my sons lacked a bit of confidence, they’re chalk and cheese the two boys. One lacked a bit of confidence, and I thought this was a good way for him to actually be able to achieve something in his own right, which he did, and it was, I wouldn’t say it was a pleasant experience at the time, but it was a fantastic experience after the event. And then for my 60th birthday my two sons and my wife, we trekked Machu Picchu. And that was also quite an experience. I thought my poor wife was gonna die with altitude sickness, but a bit of oxygen, and it was like giving her a kick up the backside and she took off like a rabbit. But yeah, look, we have to, I think whatever your age is, John, you have to set yourself some targets, not unrealistic targets. One that perhaps just extend you a little bit. Just give you a goal. And when you’ve achieved it, you sit back and you celebrate. Uh, either with yourself or your partner, doesn’t matter. It’s something you’ve done for your own, like a sense of satisfaction.

[00:25:57] John Deeks: [00:25:57] Well, this was very relevant, so with anzac day and all. Um, so thank you very much indeed, Barrie, for  sharing the Kokoda trail story as well. It was, as I say, very relevant at this time. Folks go to or you’ll see Barrie’s link at the YourLifeChoices website as well. And there, you will find age appropriate, absolutely free exercises you can do in the privacy of your own home. And make sure that you keep fit physically and mentally across this time. Barrie, I hope this is not the last time we speak because you’ve got some great tales to tell and all we can say is you make sure you stay well as well.

[00:26:42] Barrie Elvish: [00:26:42] Just one last thing John the good thing about doing it in your own home, no one’s going to laugh at your outfit.

[00:26:49] John Deeks: [00:26:49] Oh, you’ve seen mine. Okay, fair enough.

[00:26:51] Barrie Elvish: [00:26:51] I have.

[00:26:52] John Deeks: [00:26:52] Be well, Barrie. Thanks mate.

[00:26:54] Barrie Elvish: [00:26:54] Cheers John. Bye.