A beach body at 94?
Of the recent changes that the human race has experienced, the increasing population numbers are dramatic and worrying, the great and continuous increase in obesity and the resultant diabetes pandemic is frightening, but most attention has been given to the rapid and continuing growth of longevity.
But our knowledge of the aging process is very limited, as what we observe is the result of a health-destroying lifestyle. Retirement creates invalids. Chronic disease is rampant in old age, resulting in such enormous medical costs that should present trends continue, together with the diabetes pandemic, some countries could become bankrupt. Diabetes is already an international public health issue and inactivity one of the biggest killers. The loss of wasted human potential and wealth is already immense.
Successful aging requires work, diet and exercise. The huge mental and physical potential of the aged remains unexplored.
Bodies can now be rebuilt at any age and a new life started. Beauty kings and queens in the 80-year-old category or a beach body at the age of 94 are not impossible. We will all, regardless of age, have to take greater responsibility for our own health in order to confront the immense challenges confronting the human race.
Dr. Charles Eugster, Resident in Uitikon, was born in London on 26th July 1919. As a young child he was very sickly, contracting all the common childhood infectious diseases. Although not talented he received his 1st VIII colours for rowing, 2nd XV colours for rugby and 2nd String colours for boxing at St. Paul’s School in London and later rowed in the Thames RC Grand VIII at Henley. After the war he rowed in the Thames RC Wyfold IV at Henley.
After obtaining dental degrees in London, Zurich, at Northwestern (Chicago) and Heidelberg Universities he married in 1954 and opened a private dental practice in Zurich. He gave lectures, published papers on dentistry and was a instructor at the Zurich University Dental School. As time passed he adopted a more sedentary life style with disastrous consequences. He had caught tuberculosis from a patient during his training in the dental clinic in 1945 but had been considered cured. Over 20 years later he had a relapse. He was sent to a TB clinic in 1967 with a considerable lung cavity. After 6 months of treatment he was rated cured. His continuous dental education in the US encouraged him to write and publish an international dental newsletter in 3 languages at the age of 59, in addition to his dental practice.
He slowly became more active in sports. In his early 60s he discovered that the Masters Rowing had instituted a 60-year-old category and started regular rowing and participated in a number of regattas. He divorced at 72. At 74 he remarried and retired from dental practice at 75, but continued publishing his newsletter. He decided to row internationally starting at the age of 78 in the Euro Masters in Munich and winning in the single skulls in 1997. He has continued to compete in the World Masters, winning 32 World Masters and 6 Euro Masters gold medals. He has now over 100 rowing trophies.
At the age of 81 his second wife died and at 82 he discontinued newsletter publishing. He thus no longer had employment,
which was a negative health factor and may have contributed to the physical decline. At 85 in spite of training 6 days a week his body degenerated. The loss of muscle mass (sarcopenia) became obvious and he was overweight. At 87 he joined a body building club and hired a previous „Mr Universe“ as a coach. He was over-weight at 77 kilos and
lost 12 kilos in 12 months.
At 89 he met his present coach who was studying for her bachelor’s degree in Sport Science Management. The result of scientific training was dramatic. In that year in 2008, at 89, he won four gold medals in four races in the 80-year-old category at the World Masters Rowing Regatta in Trakai, Lithuania, and in addition was Strenflex (General Fitness) World Champion. In 2009 he received a trophy in Vienna from the Austrian Sport Association for being the first 90-year-old ever to have rowed in the Masters Rowing Regatta. By this time he had become recognised as an expert in the field of ageing including training for the aged. He joined groups on the internet, subscribed to various journals and receives monthly updates from the library of the Royal Society of Medicine. Every few months he reviews about 30-40 abstracts on aging and sport & exercise and nutritional supplements from all over the world. With his coach they continuously experiment with different training regimes, diet and food supplements. There is little or no information on training methods, diet or even parameters for the healthy aged above 70. He and his coach are exploring an unknown field.
He gave lectures, became known in the print and TV media internationally and was offered a paid contract at the age of 90
with the fitness centre group INJOY, and was again Strenflex World Champion. In St. Cathrines, at the Masters Regatta in Canada 2010, he won 5 gold medals in 5 races. In addition, his contract was renewed. He has recently been featured in a TV spot in the US.
Within the space of 3-4 years his body, in spite of advanced age, at 93 had been completely rebuilt. His aim is now to
change the world; and to have a beach body at 94.
P.S. He is now being trained by a member of the Swiss National Rowing Squad for 6 races in the World Masters Rowing Regatta in Duisburg.
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