At age 74, Bill Walsh is an active and healthy senior who has a positive and confident outlook on life that shines from the first moment you meet him. Starting about five years ago I would show up early in the morning at the gym, before the large crowd had arrived, when it was still quiet and serene, and more times than none Bill would also be there, all dressed up in his gym attire and ready to sweat. I was surprised when I first discovered Bill’s age because he looks and acts the part of a younger man. In hopes to help other senior citizens, I was curious to learn more about Bill’s recipe for youth - his diet, workout routine and views on fitness.
Bill, how does working out make you feel?
Working out has been a boon to my existence. I realize that it is a definite key to longevity, and not just longevity, but feeling good longevity – standing up straight, not looking down, and being conscious of your own posture. Working out becomes an addiction, where if you miss a few days out of a week then you can’t wait to get back! The physical sense of well-being, strength, and flexibility is addicting and you don’t want to be without that.
How often do you recommend working out?
I would recommend working out three days a week and with a rest day in between, like a Monday-Wednesday-Friday routine.
What workout exercises do you perform?
There’s a cardiovascular aspect of exercise that I think is very important, almost as important as the nutritional aspect of keeping your arteries clear and your colon clean. I use the cross-trainer elliptical machine, and with the right determination you can really work up a good sweat. A half an hour is enough. They say 45 minutes is better but I’m happy with a half an hour.
There are three main parts to exercise. Regarding weights, that would be for definition of the physique, and something like a cross-trainer would be to get the heart muscle exercised and operating fully, and then Yoga or some gentle stretching keeps the ligaments and tendons all stretched out. As we age, the ligaments and tendons tend to shrink and if you’re not doing any stretching then when you back your car up, for example, you’ll have trouble turning around versus being able to look behind you without any difficulty.
What nutritional advice would you give to seniors?
At the ripe old age of almost 75, there are some things that I would definitely recommend to seniors who want to get in better shape, who want to be a little more health conscious of what they eat, or don’t eat, and also what they do to supplement their diet. After all, we are what we eat! One thing I learned from an early age was to eat additional fiber every day, something called psyllium husks. Three teaspoons of psyllium husks in 10 ounces of water, shaken up and drank, and then drink another 10 ounces of water afterwards.
I recommend to seniors for them to be a little more interested in just what makes the body work nutritionally. There are certain books that can be read to help. I think the main book they should read is The Ancient Secret of the Fountain of Youth that describes the 5 Tibetan Rites, which makes people healthier and live longer, that’s the bottom line!
I avoid eating a lot of meat, and I make a very strong effort to eat as much live food as I can because it’s the live enzymes in the food that nurture the body. Most of the enzymes in cooked food are actually cooked out, so what people eat is mostly just comfort food.
How do you feel after you worked out?
After I’ve finished working out and go outside and smell that fresh air, life is so much more beautiful and so much more enjoyable. It’s a greater sense of well-being and optimum health! I’ll be working out into my nineties. I hadn’t had a physical exam in 6 years, and at my last physical the doctor examined me and afterwards we sat and chatted and he said, “You know, Bill, you’re going to live to be 100!”
Interview by Alex Milzer with the Senior Directory