Every new year sees an abundance of get-in-shape tips and advice. Photos featuring buffed 25 and 30 year olds can leave the impression that folks over 65 need not apply themselves to an exercise routine. But in truth exercise helps everyone, and no one is more aware of its benefits than Earl Parker.
Parker admits to having been "fitness-oriented" all his life, and at 80 years old, he shows no signs of abandoning his lifelong habit of regular exercise. In 2014, he purchased a bicycle with the idea of riding the campus of PineCrest Retirement Community in Lufkin, Texas, where he lives. But those sojourns proved too limiting, and he soon found himself turning the handlebars toward downtown Lufkin on Saturday mornings.
Parker recently purchased a rack for his car so he can haul the bike to his daughter's house, 130 miles away, where he rides the trails near her home on some Saturdays. His rides average 45 minutes - a good workout, with the added bonus of fresh air and sunshine.
On Mondays and Thursdays, he exercises for an hour with a personal trainer, a routine that can include walking the treadmill, weight training, exercises on the fitness ball or strength training with elastic bands.
Parker also exercises on his own once a week in the community's fitness center, where he is often joined by John Woodside, another resident of the community, who-at 100 years old-is further proof that it's never too late to reap the benefits of exercise.