The exercises that helped grandad, 73, run 200 miles – what he did

James Davies shares his quick exercise tip

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As people grow older, it can be more difficult to lose weight and stay fit. According to research, people’s bodies after the age of 30 usually need less energy, meaning they may not be able to eat the way they did when they were younger.

Not only that, but as people get older they also lose muscle, which means it’s harder to burn calories as muscle actually burns more calories than fat does.

But accountant turned triathlete 74-year-old Ian Clark, managed to reform his fitness regime and diet after he retired from his job at age 64.

Ten years later and he’s still keeping it up, competing in triathlons and marathons all over Scotland.

Ian, from Monifieth in Dundee, decided to kick-start his fitness again after realising he “should be doing more” to look after his body.

A year after retiring, he stopped smoking and started training to be a triathlete after his nephew convinced him to give the sport a go.

And he was surprised that he actually really enjoyed it and has completed numerous races including the Edinburgh half marathon, the Kilomathon Scotland and the Scottish half marathon, and his efforts have also raised funds for charities such as Cancer Research.

Alongside his passion for marathons, Ian revealed he joined his local David Lloyd gym in Dundee to keep himself active when he wasn’t racing.

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For ordinary gym-goers, studies have found that intense exercise begins getting harder when a person reaches their 40s as their maximum heart rate declines.

When they hit their 50s and 60s, muscle loss can start to take hold.

Researchers at Duke University’s School of Medicine suggest people who don’t exercise will physically decline “more quickly” after the age of 50.

Ian said: “I have always been active and have participated in most sports over the years.

“The opening of David Lloyd Dundee 20 years ago helped me to increase the amount and type of exercise I do daily.”

Stating that he now “feels fitter than he did in his 20s”, Ian keeps to a fitness regime by swimming every morning, attending three spin classes a week and running and cycling once a week.

This has enabled him to keep fit way into his 70s and the grandfather-of-three also challenged himself to run 100 miles per month during lockdown, but he ended up smashing a whopping 200 miles instead.

He beamed: “I am now regularly swimming, attending spin classes and doing weights – something that wasn’t possible until I joined!

“With retirement looming, I realised that I could and should be doing much more.

“I started running, cycling and swimming and a few months after my retirement, competed in my first Olympic Triathlon, just two weeks after I gave up smoking after 40 years.

“Since retiring in my 50s, I have gone from strength to strength, doing 10ks, half and full marathons and even a bit of open water swimming with the sharks in Australia.”

He added: “Exercise is essential for everyone, especially the over 50s and the feeling of wellbeing is there for all to see and feel.”

Ian Clark has collaborated with David Lloyd Clubs to inspire the nations over 50s to go after whatever goal they set themselves and show that age has no limits when it comes to fitness. To view more information on David Lloyd Clubs’ classes and experiences on offer, please visit:

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