Grandad Bob’s bike back to fitness

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Hawick nutrition and fitness enthusiast Bob Mitchell talks about his return to health...

Without fitness, health and vitality we have little to look forward to and/or little to strive for.

Do you leap out of bed in the morning full of the day’s hopes and dreams and wanting to reach for the sky? This is vitality and this time last year I had lost it.

Being a 60-year-old granddad, I felt I had achieved everything life had in store for me and vitality was just a memory. One day, however, I stopped, saw my expanding waist line and asked myself: “Bob, are you living or just drifting through life?”

Weight loss is 80 per cent nutrition and only 20 per cent exercise, so getting good nutrition was key.

In fact, I found this easy, delicious and sustaining. However, fitness? I knew that I needed a challenge to waken up both my brain and my body, but what? I wanted to get fit, but running was out of the question (oh my aching knees). Returning to the gym was a possibility, but I wanted fresh air and to see that sky I was aiming for, so … I bought a bike, even though I had never cycled seriously and, indeed, hadn’t cycled at all in more than 20 years.

But cycling was not enough, I needed that challenge for my tired old brain. What did I decide? Only to cycle solo to a conference I wanted to attend in Barcelona.

Cycling was literally a breath of fresh air. It had everything – getting the lungs working, getting the legs working and even getting the brain working.

Planning my nutrition, planning my training and planning my route all made me excited to wake up every morning.

Did I manage it? Yes. I cycled more than 1,400km from Holland to Barcelona solo, carrying my own tent, my sleeping bag, food and water.

Did I achieve vitality? Yes, in fact, I felt as if I could reach for the stars not just the sky.

So could you do it? Of course. One of the things I learned is that no matter your age, anything is possible if you want it seriously enough.