Eric celebrates 98th birthday... with visit to gym

Eric Couzens celebrating his 98th birthday with staff at Wymondham Leisure Centre. Picture: South No

Eric Couzens celebrating his 98th birthday with staff at Wymondham Leisure Centre. Picture: South Norfolk Council - Credit: Archant

Even the younger ones among us can sometimes struggle to find the motivation to exercise.

But one man who started going to his nearby leisure centre aged 84 has showed he has true staying power – by celebrating his 98th birthday with a visit to the gym.

Eric Couzens, of Gaynor Close, Wymondham, has been visiting three times a week ever since he became a member.

Mr Couzens said: 'I was widowed and looking for something to do and my doctor suggested I take up something active, so I did.

'It was a bit of a leap, going from being looked after for 50 years to suddenly having to look after myself.'

Now, 14 years on, Mr Couzens is both shocked and pleased to still be a member at the leisure centre.

He said: 'I really don't know how I got here quite honestly. I am astounded.

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'When I was 90 the centre staff decorated both the reception and the gym for me. On my 95th birthday I was made an honorary life member and now it's wonderful to be celebrating my 98th birthday surrounded by my friends.'

For Mr Couzens, visiting the leisure centre has never been a chore.

He said: 'I enjoy it, and it has social benefits as well as health benefits.

'I get on the treadmill, the rowers, the cross-trainer and I have a friend who is about 25 years my junior who goes with me and we keep each other going.'

With regards to the growing problem of obesity in the UK, Mr Couzens thinks the growing culture of temptation and instant gratification is to blame.

He said: 'There is a whole sugar industry now, what with all the sweets at the checkout. I come from a different era completely. Back in the 1920s there was nothing like this around anywhere. Obesity wasn't an option.

'It is harder in some ways for the younger generations – the temptation is all around them with the television and apps and so forth.

'Luckily for me I don't see very well anymore, so I'm not tempted by these things.'

South Norfolk councillor Yvonne Bendle said: 'It is fantastic to see how much Eric enjoys visiting the centre and I would like to wish him a very happy birthday.'