Be active

Published 29-05-2015

In the April issue (No. 2, 2015) of Fjell og Vidde, Norway’s largest outdoor magazine, there’s a brief interview with 80-year old Hans Kristen Ruud from Hamar, who firmly believes everyone is responsible for their own health. Each day he makes sure that he stays active with his daily chores and tasks. Below are three health tips that he offers:

  • Keep yourself active and don’t think about the passing years.
  • Every day chores and tasks are good fitness training possibilities.
  • Go by bike to the local supermarket instead of driving.

Fjell og Vidde asked Hans the following questions (the text below has been translated from the original Norwegian):

How do you keep yourself fit?

We’ve got to stop thinking that physical work is bad. A little activity every day is the simplest, healthiest and best you can do. I don’t contract others to do jobs that I can do myself, such as snow shovelling, clipping the garden hedge, helping out my neighbour, chopping wood, and clearing forest paths. For me it’s a pleasure to be outdoors doing physical work.

When did you start doing this?

I never stopped, that’s the point. I grew up on a farm. Physical work and outdoor activites were a natural part of my life. When I left home, I worked in the defence forces, started a family, spent my spare time hiking and orienteering. My philosophy has always been to stay active, use my body and to be outdoors. It’s amazing to think that nowadays we have to motivate people to get off their backsides so that they don’t die of lack of exercise.

How should someone keep active?

I think it’s important to recognise that we are each responsible for our own lives. It’s so easy to blame others when our health starts getting worse. Now and again I think that elderly people sell their houses and move into a flat to lead a simpler life. They give up physical work and responsibilities, and believe that this will make them happier, but in the process they lose the challenge staying active gives their body and spirit. Life no longer places demands on us; most people choose the path of least resistance. Like driving to the local supermarket, rather than walk or go by bike.

What is your advice for this Year of the Outdoors?

Never think about how old you are. Believe in yourself and keep in mind that for as long as you are able to stand on your own two feet, there is hope and a lot that you can do - if you want to. The responsibility is yours. Plus never forget to be active each and every day.

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