Why bodybuilding at age 93 is a great idea: Charles Eugster at TEDxZurich

Why bodybuilding at age 93 is a great idea: Charles Eugster at TEDxZurich

Translator: Robert Tucker
Reviewer: Ariana Bleau Lugo Let me start first with a brief story. Before attending a dinner
at my rowing club, I went into the bar. Seeing an attractive young lady… (Laughter) I thought that I would chat her up. Suddenly, there was an influx of people,
and we were pressed together. My nose was squashed in the cleavage
between two magnificent breasts. My embarrassment made me realize
how tall the lovely lady was. (Laughter) I had, in fact, been introduced to one
of the many continuing rapid changes related to our human bodies. The increase of height of 10cm
during the last few hundred years seems to have peeked in 1970. Here I am, rowing at the age of 91 with a 15 year old, who is already
well over a head taller than me. There is continuing increase in girth. Obesity is now
a major world health problem. World obesity has doubled since 1980. 12% of the world’s population is obese. In the Americas, it is even 26%. Obesity can cause diabetes,
heart disease and cancer. Already 10% of the world’s population
suffer from diabetes. A world pandemic of diabetes
is already a reality. By 2030 it is estimated that 50%
of the US population will be obese. In obesity, it is the prefrontal part
of the brain that shrinks. The prospect of the most powerful nation
of the world with 50% of the US population
having shrinking brains is frightening! (Laughter, Applause) Never in human history have so many humans
been so overweight and so obese. The world’s population is now 7 billion. Very soon there will be 8 billion people
inhabiting the Earth. If at this point,
a pandemic were to destroy half of the world’s population, there would still be double the amount
of people that existed when I was a child! The continuing aging of the population is one of the most remarkable
success stories of the human race in modern history. There will soon be more people over 60
than children under 15. But man has destroyed the wonder of aging by transforming it into an age
of degeneration and disease. 92.2% of the over 65 in the United States
has one or more chronic diseases. 40% of the 60+ take 5 or more
medicaments a day. 45% of the 85+ have Alzheimer’s. Natural, healthy aging is unseen, covered by a blanket of disease. In fact, it is falsely assumed that disease is
a natural consequence of aging. Lift up the blanket
and there could be surprises. (Laughter) Lifelong work, continuous education,
competition in strenuous sports, beauty queens in old age
could be a reality. The aged now, however,
are over nourished, over medicated and physically and mentally inactive. Inactivity is a major cause of death. How did this happen? Our bodies are still those
of the Paleolithic era. When we were hunter-gatherers,
food was scarce, that as much food as possible was consumed
and the excess stored as fat, so that we could survive the next famine. As physical and mental activity
was enormous, unnecessary activity was avoided. Today, with an excess of food, and survival no longer dependent
on huge physical and mental effort, our instincts still tell us to consume an excess of food
and avoid activity as much as possible. Those instincts that in the past enabled us to survive
are now destroying us. But successful aging is possible. There are three factors that
contribute to successful aging. They are work, diet, and exercise,
in that order. (Laughter) I will address each in turn. Work. The aged suffer from inactivity,
poor diet, overweight, diabetes etc, just as the general population does,
but in addition, this is severely compounded
by retirement. Retirement is voluntary or involuntary unemployment
for up to 30 years. We know that unemployment
causes chronic disease and mental problems, as well as poor health, disability, more medical consultations,
more medication, more hospital admissions. Work, on the other hand, is therapeutic, good for health, and is an intrinsic part of improving
and maintaining health. Work is a determinant of self-worth, family esteem, identity, and standing in the community. This graph shows the energy expenditure
at different ages. One can see that in retirement, the physical energy expenditure
for occupation is removed, and the pensioner is left with little
or no physical or mental activity. Remember, inactivity kills! In the UK, retirement was reduced
from the age of 70 to 65 in 1946, when life expectancy was 65 years. The retirement age was never intended
to be earlier than life expectancy. Today, however, retirement
can start 25 to 30 years earlier than life expectancy. Our pension schemes
are financially unsustainable. It is that destructive effects
of retirement on physical and mental health
that have not only been ignored, but vastly underestimated. It is essential that the aged
be integrated into the workforce, not only for financial,
but also for health reasons. Retirement is not the end, it can be a new beginning, a chance… (Applause) … a chance to build a new body, develop dormant talents, and start
a new life for the next 30 years. Start a new successful company. The 55 to 65 decade is the highest decade
of entrepreneurial activity, with the highest long-term success rate. You have nothing to lose
except the chains of convention. (Applause) Retirement is a massive health calamity and a future financial disaster. Diet. Fast, processed and junk food
together with soft drinks take advantage of our cravings. Consuming these foods
can lead to nutritional imbalance. Exercise. Vanity is a huge asset. (Laughter) Even at 87, I wanted an Adonis body in order to turn the heads of these sexy, young 70 year-old girls
on the beach. I wanted a six pack,
but my coach said, we must first work on my bottom,
which, she said, was a catastrophe. (Laughter) Exercise is both a preventive measure
and a treatment. The success rate of exercise therapy
for a number of conditions is well over 40%. The number of diseases that are treatable
by exercise is continuously increasing. Research has shown that
those who participate in strenuous competitive sports
live longer. Obviously, training for competition
is more intense, and in addition, competition gives
valuable adrenaline rushes. At present, longer life expectancy
means an ever-extending period of state-supported
or company-financed retirement, more disability and more health costs. This was never anticipated. By 2025 it is estimated that
the cost of interest payments, Medicare, Medicaid and social security will consume all US federal income. The economic consequences
of chronic disease are so substantial that if present trends continue nation states could be bankrupted. In the near future,
it will be those countries that have the healthiest populations with the healthiest brains
that will rule the world. What can you do? Save your health and save humanity. One of the most interesting developments
is the fact that we can rebuild old bodies. The body of an 80-year-old has lost
about 50% of his muscle mass since the age of 50, which has been replaced by fat. By removing the fat and
regenerating lost muscle, we can give the 80-year-old
a body composition similar to that one of 20
or even 30 years younger. Two men. The first is 20 years older
than the second. Not the other way around. A beach party at 90 is no longer a dream
but a real possibility. I have little time to tell you more, but you have no time to lose. You can rebuild your body at any age. It’s like trading in your car
for a new one. When I was in Chicago in 1950, I traded in my Chevrolet,
list price $3,000, for an Oldsmobile 98,
list price $5,000. I asked the salesman: What is the difference
between these two cars? He said two words: more car. What do you get when you trade in
your body for a new one? More body, more mind, more spirit! Go for it! (Applause) Dania Gerhardt: This was
wonderful Charles. I mean, I don’t have to add anything,
the reaction is so obvious. I really love it that bodybuilding
will save humanity, I guess. So, I can also imagine that after this a lot of people will, in the next break, maybe go for the fruit
rather than for the cake, and maybe run home
instead of taking the train. Would that make you happy? Charles Eugster:
Well, as far as fruit [is] concerned, I would just like to say that
in the Garden of Eden, if Adam had refused
the fruit offered by Eve, and instead eaten the snake, protein, (Laughter) the world would be different. (Laughter) (Applause) Dania Gerhardt: Thank you, Charles.
Thank you so much. Thank you. Wonderful. (Applause)

100 Replies to “Why bodybuilding at age 93 is a great idea: Charles Eugster at TEDxZurich”

  1. With all due respect for old age, I will dare to say this: Jesus Christ from Nazareth lived only to 33, eaten the snake for us and that was enough to conquer death itself, meaning 93 or 120 or 500 becomes completely out of range. Surely enough we need to find a place for the good news Gospel in the TED TALKS, and I can see a blessing is on the way!

  2. Exercising when young increases muscle strength but in old age too much exercise will damage you. Whatever you do, you cannot escape the ruling of Mother Nature.

  3. It's a very good idea to wait until you're 93 to start weight training. I just turned 50 and am falling apart from years of lifting. 🙂

  4. In reference to The Garden of Eden, he basically said, in a nice way, that if man hadn't been coerced and manipulated by a woman, the world world would be a different place. Boy, was he tight about that!

  5. One of the greatest Ted Talks I've ever heard! I love inspiring people like Charles Eugster trying to make a difference… Even at age 97 !

  6. I am 63 and have been in remission for 2 years from Non Hodgkins Lymphoma and Leukemia cancers. I fast one day a week and do intermittent fasting the rest of the week not eating from dinner till noon the next day. And go to the gym 5 days a week and am in the best shape of my life. My weight is as low as when I was in college. It was either "woe is me" or do something. I have never felt better and for sure, you're never too old to start.
    I have read that the average 65+ old person exercises ONE HOUR…………PER YEAR! When you look around at people everywhere, I believe it.

  7. Aging has been destroyed exactly.

    To the point we assume disease is a natural part of aging. Exactly.

    Our boomer parents got this idea somehow about sit-down sedentary socializing, as often as possible, complete with copious amounts of food and alcohol.

    Their vision for retirement, which is when for some totally unknown reason they assume they can simply cease working entirely???.. Is to become even More sedentary, while the system picks up their tab for nearly everything happening in their life and body.

    When we bought our first home I had a neighbour on two sides like most people. The first neighbour loved to sit, and eat, and drink, and socialize. She spent the last 20 years with chronic health problems that basically incapacitated her. The second neighbour stayed independent and stayed active. He is an older age than she ever reached and is still going strong.

    Oh and let's talk pensions. It's so great I spent my entire young life being garnished paying into pensions for someone else to enjoy 25-30 Years paid retirement on my dime, only for us to finally acknowledge after taking my earnings that it was never healthy for them and is not sustainable.

  8. Significant regular exercise may slow or stop cancer….and in some cases, lower sugar intake can help, no downside, worth a try

  9. I totally disagree with almost everything this guy says. I worked many decades and it was nothing but stress. Stress becomes accumulative and is also a source of illness and disease. You can keep busy in retirement without holding down a traditional job. Traditional jobs actually keep people from being active by confining them to a desk or a cubicle. How much better to work in a community garden or your own garden! Also, retirement is NOT the same as unemployment, where the worry of sustainability is always present. People get diseases in old age due to many factors, the greatest of which is poor nutrition and bad medical care. Years of poor nutrition add up and translate into disease. Medical care treats symptoms, not the problems. If you have taken the time to read this, thank you.

  10. Yeah all good but… Why is he READING? It would have kept my attention longer if he would have shown outstanding mental capacity by memorizing his speech.

  11. Americans may have an obesity issue, but they also have a malnourishment issue. Being obese does not mean you are eating good food. This exacerbates health issues.

  12. You are right about convention. Try to go to the gym and the timers are set beyond your energy. Go to Elks and your volunteer time is 4 hours until a break. At 83, I can whip my weight in wildcats for about 5 minutes but then I need a break.

  13. What a hoot! I don't think he mentioned it in his talk, but he was a dental surgeon. What a lovely, humorous and inspiring gentleman! RIP, Charles!

  14. He was correct about the retirement age being an uneconomical joke, these days. People should face up to it. Governments (i.e. the people) cannot afford to pay for this.
    Unfortunately, this takes the jobs from the younger people, in a generally decreasing job market.
    What is or are the solutions?

  15. I'm still working at 71 and don't plan on retiring. I'm not on any meds and don't plan on starting. During a physical the doctor noted that I wasn't taking any meds, I said no and I wouldn't take them even if he prescribed them. I try to stay as active as I can, I like to work so I press on, and oh yes, I like water slides!

  16. I've been a skilled laborer all my life as a truck mechanic. My body is worn out. Retirement has allowed me to recover some of my health both physically and mentally. That said, I don't sit still and I've discovered the benefits of low carb/reduced gluten diet.

  17. The 55 to 65 decade is the highest decade of entrepreneurial activity. The lion's share of Buffet's wealth came after 50 <I think.>  Sitting at 56 looks pretty good to me, now.

  18. I was hearing his low rate of obesity statistics and I thought, "that doesn't sound right", then I looked at the publish date as 7 years ago. His statistics were probably from even a few years before 2012, but look how far we've come from 2012 to 2019, these statistics have since doubled and the middle east, thanks to western chain food restaurants, is now, by far the most obese region of the world. I follow a lot of Europeans on Instagram and they as well are now finding it hard to point the obesity finger at the USA except for the fact that we have exported our food habits and food corporations and the world seems to be welcoming it with open arms.

  19. Any message is lost due to his Dalek-like, hectoring delivery, nevertheless research has made it clear that we are eating & exercising about the same as we did in the 1970's, what's changed is not how much but WHAT we are eating. Lack of exercise is not the pressing issue in any case, lack of knowledge re what your body requires in terms of nutrition is. SUGAR is the enemy, not inactivity. With a healthy diet one feels energised & WANTS to use one's body, it's no use ranting at sugar addicted couch potatoes to get up & move, most of them CAN'T & they never will be able to until they change their eating habits completely.


  21. On top of being physically fit, he also has positive self-talk. You can hear him saying "Well done." to himself at 14:55

  22. Retirement is good if one stimulates oneself. Work can put you in an early grave as most jobs are too stressful.

  23. Thank God for Men like Charles. I am approaching my 80th Birthday and whilst I don’t do Bodybuilding, I have practiced Body Fitness throughout my lifetime. I do 50 military press ups every day and walk up stairs and Escalators. I find to my amazement that I win 95% of press up Competitions with men decades younger than Myself. I agree wholeheartedly with Charles message!!!

  24. Balance and stabilization exercises, functional exercises and any weigh training program are great! Just body building, not so much! Building muscle is important as you age, but diet is the key! The healthiest older people are very active, walk lots and have great diets!

  25. How is work therapeutic when the work entails harming the mind and body via exposure to various forms of danger , health hazards and oppressive superiors ? Not everyone has the luxury of choice, some people are forced into certain work because of coercion or circumstances.

  26. This is great. This video should be played monthly for people that are about to be retired. It will keep those great senior citizen on this part of the universe for longer time

  27. I have HIV and had Kaposi"s in my legs. In 2014 I was in a Wheelchair for about 6 weeks. After Physical Therapy 6 months later I joined a gym and hired a trainer. We started with Boxing (throwing punches) for Cardio as my mobility was limited. And lifting weights.
    I am now 63, and am gaining muscle mass. I eat Organic and workout 5 days a week. I do Cardio at least 3-4 days. I can say I feel better now than when I was in my twenties. And I am considering Competing in Body Building.
    This man is quite an inspiration. He makes me want to work harder to stay fit. And Yes, I am in better shape than most teenagers. I do enjoy my gym. Everyone is so positive and reinforcing. I go at 5 AM and there we are. The "Old Men" that are in better shape than most young people. Exercise, Filter your water, read labels on your food and stay away from most Doctors. . It will save your life.

  28. This is all good. The Chinese make a distinction between health and fitness, with health coming first. Taking care of our organs, lungs, kidneys, liver, heart, and stomach is necessary. Organ failures are fatal. Exercise is important; taking care of our organs is paramount.

  29. One has to wonder what the difference all the illegal and legal immigrants drawing off SS and they’ve never paid any taxes…it’s gotta be in the trillions.


  31. The pandemic is overpopulation…… in 1918 the population was one billion …. the more people the less quality of life for the planet , the animals and humanity

  32. Never have I seen a younger looking senior! Being retired from Physical Therapy, I always recommended to my patients to not schedule exercise, like 20 minutes twice a day, rather to move/exercise/breath ALL waking day, never sitting longer than 15 min. Dance, Taiichi, Martial Arts, any slow controlled breathing directed movement works like standing at kitchen sink for balance, dancing breathing with always upright posture lifting upward rejoicing STRENGTHEN UPPER BODY ~~ Peace Charles ~~

  33. Thank you very grateful, TEDx Talks, because we worry, the universe has the principle of renewal for the year 2053, Planet Earth will be born again, thanks again.

  34. My hat off to you, sir, your example was/is impeccable! Have lived my life in the way you outlined and am now in my mid-sixties, with an expectation that I'll soon be middle-aged.
    ALL things in moderation.(sometimes even moderation itself😇)

  35. He spoke truth. But it's not applicable to all. There are other agents acting to mankind's destruction. Prayer n faith in God helps.

  36. He's wrong on working past 65 if you don't need to. Instead volunteer at something that is fulfilling, mind your diet and stay active (cardiovascular, strength training, flexibility).

  37. In the U.S. social security is not tied at all to the federal budget. We pay for it separately under a separate tax. By lifting the cap we will be fine. Being employed all your life is not for everyone unless they’re passion is their work. If work is replaced by the healthy habits he suggests it makes sense you’d be happier than working at a job you don’t enjoy pass 65!

  38. Love this man. At 71 and 40 lbs over my optimum weight, Charles Eugster has inspired me. I'll now get started. Thank you, Charles. 🙂

  39. It's not about working, but having occupations, more so if we love them, it doesn't need to be work there are other things in life. There is a society coming where that will be the normal? Where work is not the aim of life and what keep us alive. Work is overestimated and dull people. The doing over and over and over and over again the same activities and tasks as most work is conceived is dulling, not life giving. Sedentary comes much from the work hours, injuries from repetition of movements in more active ones and mind boredom and demotivation, too.

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