Gary Player: Naked Body, Naked Health Evangelist

We’ve been hearing that at 77, Gary Player was going to pose nude in the ESPN The Magazine Body Issue. It’ll be out this Friday, July 12th, but they are doing a good job of previewing the issue with preview slide shows on the internet and interviews with the subjects.

At espn.go.com, Morty Ain has an extended interview, “Underneath Gary Player’s polo.” Most of us knew that Player was as healthy as humanly possible, but few of us knew that he was an ardent evangelist. That’s one step beyond just a plain evangelist and, in his case, a short step away from strident, ardent evangelist.

All of that comes out in the interview where he talks primarily about golf performance and longevity. He says that the human body is designed to make it to 100, but that with the world’s current consumption patterns, disease is much more likely. 

I will attest to the benefits of regular exercise. I have been a daily runner since the late 70s and well into my nine year effort to Monday qualify my way onto the Champions Tour.

Moving to Desert Mountain here in Scottsdale, Arizona, as part of that effort, dumb luck also got me access to our fabulous fitness center with my house key. Since then it’s been remodeled and because it is so popular with the members, we’re getting ready to do it again.

The initial attraction for me was that I could run indoors on the treadmills in the (not that hot) heat of the summers. In short order, the one-stop shopping for a six-mile run, and nice hot shower became irresistible and year round. Halfway into my pursuit, I started lifting weights which I’d never done before. That goal was for more strength to support the rigors of the golf swing on my body, not to end up looking like Adonis. Although I could have.

And because I had ignored stretching — it seemed so lame, why would I need that? — I eventually had back problems it took my chiropractor eight months to completely eliminate. So now I stretch too.

I don’t do everything every night, but I do a little bit of everything over the six nights a week. During the day, I also do planks and pushups at home for core strength.

I do all these things for the same reason I persisted running six miles a day when I was chasing the Tour: I didn’t know any other of the over-50 set that were running at all, let alone six miles…a day. It was my edge. I knew when I walked onto any one of the qualifying sites, there was nobody more fit than I was.

I don’t do six miles anymore; two to three gets the job done and leaves time for free weights, stretching and balance exercises. But now I persist because I see the parade of late bloomers to the exercise concept trying to make up for lost time. I don’t want to end up like that and probably won’t given my investment so far. What’s been surprising to me is the number of young men and women into the workout lifestyle. What I want to know is how did they figure that out? It never occurred to me at their age.

Anyway, I’m not ready for Gary Player’s diet discipline quite yet, but if you read his interview, perhaps you’ll be inspired. It’s a great interview and he’s a very good ardent evangelist.

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