People Who Inspire Us #1

Charlie is 67. A former military and commercial pilot, he confesses he still loves adrenaline sports. We met when iShoe conducted some balance testing in the community.

“I stay healthy because I want to keep snow skiing and scuba diving. Fitness is important to me,” he told me in the humid heat that was already building in central Houston.

Dressed in workout clothes and a cap, fresh from a recent yoga class, he bristles with energy, his eyes alive and twinkling as we ask him to repeat the shot, try a different angle, speak to the camera.

He was a high school athlete, a member of the relay team that broke a record. And although, like most of us, sport didn’t develop into a career for him, unlike most of us, he never slowed down either.

He credits some of his dedication to staying in shape to his experience in the military, and then to the six-monthly physicals he had to undergo as a commercial airline pilot, but for the most part he lives by his mantra that to be a useful member of society he believes in being strong physically, mentally and financially.

“What kind of a role model would I be to my son if I sat around all day and couldn’t do anything any more?” he asks. He still goes running with his son, who, in his 30s, doesn’t finish far ahead of his father, even now.

But even Charlie, with his weight lifting regime and sprinting fitness, which are evident in his lean, muscled physique, has had to adapt some of his training as the years have passed. He still trains hard, but not every day, taking rest days so his body can recover.

He has also realised recently that while he is strong, he is not flexible, so he started following his wife into her yoga class, an exercise he admits to finding difficult. He keeps at it because he’s determined to improve his flexibility, and reduce his risk of injury.

“You gotta keep active,” he says. “I feel strongly about this. People need to do more, to keep themselves healthy and independent.”

His energy and enthusiasm are infectious. After our filming stops and we say our goodbyes, I find myself setting tougher targets for my own fitness. And going some way to achieving them too.