Ex-newsman fit as a fiddle at 75

Never too old: Amirrudin hiking up the Moon Gate trail to Penang Hill.

A healthy mind in a healthy body - that is my secret to maintaining my fitness level even as a septuagenarian.

At 75, I am blessed for I am free of chronic health problems and I still consider myself fit as a fiddle.

By nature, I am a fighter against negative thinking. Whenever I am down, I face my problems head on.

From experience, I realise that worry, fear, anxiety and regret will sap our energy and yet, the problem does not go away.

I always remind myself: "Don't ask what you do not have but ask what you have. I have good health. That is my asset. That is my contentment."

I do not take health supplements but I am a "glutton" for fresh fruit. Sometimes, I skip rice at dinner and consume a plateful of fruit instead.

I eat raw carrots - just like a rabbit - and it's good for the eyesight, too. I try as much as I can to avoid oily and fast food.

Junk food is out of the list altogether while being a non-smoker has given me a clean bill of health.

I still do light exercises and brisk walking. When I have the time, I take to hill climbing. Daily, I perform a few minutes of exercise before my morning bath.

Standing on my toes, I raise my body 10 times. Then, I raise my right and left legs alternately up to the waist.

It takes less than five minutes to perform this simple act. You can feel the freshness surge into you and it improves your cardiovascular fitness.

Due to the nature of my work in security, I work a permanent night shift. I sleep during the day - up to five hours daily - but surprisingly, despite my age and lack of quality sleep, my health has not been affected.

I probably owe this to the fact that I was very active in sports during my younger days and well into my 60s.

I still remember consuming countless bottles of cod liver oil and boiled chickpeas as an athlete.

This "reserved" energy, which I accumulated when I was young, has helped me to re-energise myself in my twilight years.

As proof, I have endorsed my name in the Malaysia Book Of Records as the oldest climber to celebrate my birthday on top of Mount Kinabalu, South-East Asia's highest mountain.

I broke my own record a year later by going through the newly opened Mesilau Summit trail, which is much further, tougher and more challenging.

I consider climbing the Mulu Pinnacle in Sarawak as a real acid test on your endurance. The gradient is so steep all the way that it is a strain on your stamina and knee caps.

I have scaled Mount Santubong in Kuching, several mountains in the peninsula as well as active Indonesian volcanoes: Mount Bromo, Sibayak and Sinabong.

Even when I performed my umrah in Mecca, I took the opportunity to climb a rocky mountain there.

I have also kayaked on a recent expedition from Kampung Baru, Lumut, to Teluk Sekadeh off Pulau Pangkor. The six-hours, 20.5km one-way trip was a real test of our skills and stamina.

My most unforgettable kayaking trip was from Kuala Perlis to Satun in Southern Thailand.

I have one unfulfilled dream - I want to set foot at the Everest base camp.

Given a year's training, I am confident of reaching that goal. However, to find a sponsor is an obstacle. It is a dream I may yet take to the grave.

A final word of advice - your health is your passport of life. So, exercise daily to attain longevity and vigour even in your twilight years.

A.R. Amiruddin retired as a reporter with The Star in Penang at the age of 60. He still lives in Penang.

For tips on getting fit and other health issues, visit the FitForLife Fair Penang 2015.

Organised by The Star with Great Eastern Life as the event partner and Nestle Omega Plus as the wellness sponsor, the fair will be held at the SPICE Arena, Bayan Lepas, from Oct 16 to 18.

It is open from 10am to 7pm. Admission is free.

Those who pre-register at gelife.co/fflpg15 will get express entry to the fair and a free personalised 2016 calendar.

Runners can also register by Oct 9 at Star Northern Hub, Bayan Lepas, or Star Pitt Street, Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling, from Monday-Friday, 9am to 5pm, for the first-ever 7km FitForLife Run on Oct 18.

The registration fee is RM13 (S$4.39) per participant. For enquiries, call 03-7967 1388 (ext 1529/1243) or check out www.facebook.com/starhealthfair.

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