Paul Driessen likens his daily dose of Triple A exercises to a ‘miracle cure’ after noticing the pains he used to suffer from in his hip, knee and diaphragm have now gone away.
The Edmund Hillary resident puts this down to the early morning workouts he started during the strict first lockdown and has stuck to religiously ever since.
“I tend to be active, I have been doing a lot of walking since 1990 and even when my wife and I moved in here in 2012 I carried on walking the street I used to live on in St John as it was very steep.
“Walking around the village is very nice but is not that stressful as I like walking uphill, so when Ryman sent out Triple A dvds during the lockdown for me it was absolute heaven.”
Paul hadn’t attended the mid-morning Triple A classes as he likes to get his exercise out of the way first thing in the morning and he had tried swimming and the gym but found the gym gave him backache. So the dvd offered the perfect solution.
The 35 minute video features Ryman’s Operations Activity and Lifestyle Coordinator Chelsea Richdale demonstrating exercises for all the main muscle groups.
Says Paul: “I get up at 6am, I do Triple A in my pjs and then I do my walk which probably takes around 1.5 hours all up and then I have my breakfast.”
Before doing the Triple A exercises, Paul noticed the uphill walking would sometimes cause the veins in the upper part of his body to stick out, he would also get a pain under his diaphragm which he puts down to his former smoking habit, and he would regularly get pains in his hip and knee.
“I thought I’d have to get a hip replacement but since I have done the exercises, the pain has gone.
“The veins have all gone back to normal again, and the pain under the diaphragm – that’s gone as well.
“I’m really pleased that I don’t have any more pains so the exercises for me have been absolutely marvellous!”
Paul believes the fact that Chelsea touches on all the muscle groups, particularly ones he wasn’t using in his walking, has strengthened his body and given him more of an all round fitness.
“I recently heard this professor interviewed on RNZ who said exercise was a miracle cure and for me it certainly feels that way.
“And another thing,” he adds, “I have lost 6kg too!”
A former plant manager for TipTop, Paul has two daughters, five grandchildren and six great grandchildren to stay fit for, and says he adds extra vigour to each exercise to really maximise the benefit.
He lists a number of other activities he enjoys including indoor bowls and petanque and cards, Mah Jong and Rummykub to ‘keep the brain going’.
And he sets himself mental challenges on his walks too.
“I memorise the number plates on the street where I walk and at the same time I count how many cars go past me, both up and down the hill.
“I can look at the car from a distance and I’ll know exactly what the number plate is, but it is a bit frustrating when a new car comes in and I have to learn a new one!”
He adds: “A lot of people think when they retire they can sleep all day but I believe we really have got to work hard at staying fit – both mentally and physically – all the time.”
And for 84-year-old Paul, the proof is in the pudding. His heart rate is a very low 78/120.
His advice to others?
“Just start doing something and it will quickly become a habit. That’s what worked for me.”