Living Life to the Fullest: How an Avid Cyclist Spends His TimeJack Hyatt is an inspirational role model. After a full life that included time spent in the military, followed by teaching military history, he retired. Shortly after, his wife Barb had a stroke, followed by a fall, and at that point they realized that they could no longer live comfortably in their three story home. They decided to move into Revera’s Windermere on the Mount retirement residence in London, Ontario.
A typical day for them consists of waking up at 5:00 a.m and, having breakfast together, they read the paper. Once that is done, Jack cycles four kilometres to the university for a workout. Then he meets some friends for coffee and cycles home. After showering, it's time for lunch!
On the weekends, it's a different schedule. Jack typically cycles 50-85 km on any given Sunday. I tell him that I cycled 25 km once this summer and felt so proud of myself; I am now aiming to do more. Certainly age should not define your activity level; Jack is a shining example of how someone can push themselves to accomplish their fitness goals.
I asked Jack how he got started with cycling and he told me that he seriously started riding in 1999. He was part of a group from Kitchener and he participated in trips that lasted 7 days. During that week, the group would cycle approximately 500 km. That seems so amazing to me. This group would cycle a different itinerary every year and the ride would take them through lovely towns. The group folded 9 years ago and Jack joined the London Cycling Club. He also does the MS ride every year. That consists of an 80 km ride for 2 days in a row. Where does he get his energy from? I wondered what advice he would have for other seniors. His answer was measured; start slowly and work your way up.
While Jack is cycling, he is happy in the knowledge that Barb is busy too. She takes 3-4 walks per day within the Windermere residence. Along the way, she can chat with other residents. In addition to those walks, she also lifts dumbbells. She’s as avid in sports as Jack is but is active in her way. Twice a week she takes part in an exercise group run by the Centre for Activity and Aging. This research centre is administered by the University of Western Ontario. They research and conduct classes for groups with different mobility levels. Some people use different assistive devices such as walkers.
Both Jack and Barbara are happy at Windermere. They can retain their independence, as Jack still has his driver’s license enabling them to visit friends living elsewhere. Barb also attends a feminist book club once a month.
Jack points out that living in a retirement home has its advantages. They have made new friends at the home. They enjoy the various entertainment that Revera organizes. He spoke fondly of a group of musicians that performed recently in celebration of Halloween. “We are astonished at how good life is at Windermere. The staff is so nice. This is not your typical old folk’s home," he says with a chuckle.
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