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Limber up, enjoy the exercise

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Joyce Teo on 04 Jul 2017

The Straits Times

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Brisk-walking septuagenarian, a cancer survivor, says exercise needs to be enjoyed

 

Q WHAT IS YOUR SECRET TO LOOKING FABULOUS?

 

A Exercise and a healthy diet. I used to run but now, I do brisk-walking instead as it is easier on my old legs.

 

Q HAS THERE EVER BEEN A TIME WHEN YOU WERE NOT FIT AND FAB?

 

A Yes, that was before I started exercising regularly in 1977 and I have managed to keep up with my routine. However, exercise was a challenge when I was diagnosed with a rare blood cancer, mantle cell lymphoma, in 2012 and had to undergo chemotherapy.

 

Q WHAT IS YOUR DIET LIKE?

 

A My diet is mainly Western - muesli for breakfast; salad or sandwich with fruit and orange juice for lunch; and for dinner, a meat and vegetable main course plus fruit.

 

Q WHAT ARE YOUR INDULGENCES?

 

A Chocolate and ice-blended coffee drinks. I also like a glass of red wine with dinner.

 

Q WHAT DO YOU DO TO RELAX?

 

A I enjoy reading, photography and travelling. I am a retired preschool teacher so I don't have to worry about work-life balance.

 

Q WHAT ARE THE THREE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS IN YOUR LIFE?

 

A Family, friends and finding the best in people.

 

Q WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE AND LEAST FAVOURITE PART OF YOUR BODY?

 

A I'm a "what you see is what you get" person. At my age, body parts don't worry me too much. Keeping healthy and fit is more important.

 

Q WHAT ARE YOUR MUST-DOS BEFORE AND AFTER A RACE OR TRAINING SESSION?

 

A I try to eat before I exercise, especially if I'm brisk-walking a distance of 10km or longer. I do stretches after exercise.

 

Q HOW IMPORTANT IS IT FOR YOU TO KEEP UP WITH YOUR FITNESS ROUTINE?

 

A Extremely important. It is hard to wake up and exercise if I haven't had a good night's sleep.

 

Q WHAT IS THE MOST EXTREME THING YOU HAVE DONE IN THE NAME OF FITNESS OR DIET?

 

A Many years ago, I went on the Pritikin diet (which advocates eating low-fat, high-fibre food and doing regular exercise) for six months. I did it to improve my health and not to lose weight as I was already thin.

 

When I stopped the diet, I found that I really missed eating sugar, so I ate a bun every morning for three months. Now, I rarely eat buns.

 

Q HOW HAS YOUR ACTIVE LIFESTYLE INFLUENCED YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS?

 

A My husband has always exercised with me. Our daughters have only just begun to exercise - they always thought I was a bit loopy. Over the years, many of my friends have joined me in exercise sessions.

 

Q WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR CANCER PATIENTS?

 

A No matter how painful it is, you need to be positive. Exercise needs to be enjoyed and if it hurts, you should stop exercising.

 

Q HOW EXTENSIVE IS YOUR COLLECTION OF SPORTS-RELATED PARAPHERNALIA?

 

A I still have the running shoes I wore for my first 10 marathons. I've also kept some running tops.

 

My trophies and medals are too numerous to count. When I first started taking part in "fun runs" in the late 1970s, there were only a few female runners, so it wasn't hard to win a trophy.

 

Q WOULD YOU GO FOR PLASTIC SURGERY?

 

A No, we are given a body, which should always look good if we treat it properly.

 

Q DO YOU THINK YOU'RE SEXY?

 

A Not at my age.

 

The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.