By Bonnie Hutchenson
Exercise for a cause
or just because
Exercise for a cause
or just because
I did not grow up with encouragement to exercise.
Jogging was just becoming a thing. My dad’s comment was a large snort. He said, “I get my exercise being a pallbearer for friends who had a heart attack, while they were jogging.”
The idea of exercise as something that everyone should do was just catching on. In that context, I appreciated two stories about people in my over 70 generation and even older, who are using exercise for more than just their personal health.
***In August, Liliana Kujundzic, age 75, climbed 3,534-meter Mount Temple, the highest peak in the Lake Louise area. In a story in the Edmonton Journal, she said it took her 12 hours of tough scrambling and some exposed climbing to make an elevation gain of 1,000 metres.
The former pediatric nurse and entrepreneur said, “When the going got tough on Mount Temple, I thought of the children in the 10 inner city schools I am helping through the E4C school lunch program.” Seven years ago, Liliana began mountain climbing in support of the school lunch program. She has now raised nearly $200,000.
Mount Temple was just one more adventure. Back in 2015, she stood on top of Tanzania’s 5,805-metre Mount Kilimanjaro. In 2017, she hiked to Mount Everest’s 5,364-metre South Everett base. In 2018, she was near the 3,954-metre summit of Mount Robson when weather shut down the climb.
“It’s an eye-opener to go to a school to help serve lunch and see how many children are so hungry they come back for seconds and thirds,” she said. She’s now climbed 65 peaks and plans to keep going–for the children and for the sheer exhilaration of the climbs.
***Another older person–99-year-old Marvin Gord–is also using exercise to raise money for a cause. The military veteran, who served with RCAF in Canada and RAF in England, Italy and Africa in the Second World War, is about two months into his quest to walk one million steps before his 100th birthday on Dec. 31.
His goal is to raise one dollar for each step, or $1,000,000, for Baycrest Health Sciences’ Safeguarding our Seniors (SOS). Gord has had ties to Baycrest through his grandmother, mother and wife. He was inspired by British war veteran Tom Moore, who raised millions by completing laps around his garden with a walker before his 100th birthday.
Since July 1 when his campaign began, Gord has walked more than 484,000 steps and raised about $36,000. He walks about 5.5 km a day, six days a week. “I was walking all the time with a purpose,” he said, “But the purpose now is to raise as much money as we can for Baycrest.”
***Here’s a third example of exercise for older people, with thanks to the person who emailed it to me. I’m still chuckling: exercise for people over 50.
Begin by standing on a comfortable surface, where you have plenty of room at each side. With a five-pound potato bag in each hand, extend your arms straight out from your sides and hold them there as long as you can. Try to reach a full minute, and then relax. Each day you’ll find you can hold this position for just a bit longer.
After a couple of weeks, move up to 10-pound potato bags. Then try 50-pound potato bags and eventually try to get to where you can lift a 100-pound potato bag in each hand and hold your arms straight for more than a full minute (I’m at this level).
Then, after you feel confident at this level, put a potato in each bag.
***I’d love to hear from you! If you have comments about this column or suggestions for future topics, send a note to Bonnie@BonnieHutchinson.com. I’ll happily reply within one business day.