“We receive by nature a gift” 99-year old Klaus Obermeyer on exercise and the body

Will Durant, in summing up Aristotle, said, “we are what we repeatedly do.” Everything adds up, for better and definitely for worse. What we eat repeatedly, think repeatedly, how we move our body repeatedly, all of it combines to create who we are now and how we are now…and how we will meet the future. 

Klaus Obermeyer is the most vital and energetic 99-year-old I’ve ever come across. Exercise is one of a few core repeated acts that sustain him. He likens the body to a gift given to us. 

“I think we receive by nature a gift by having a body. If we don’t use it, it goes to hell, so it’s really important to keep using it. Do pushups and whatever you can to keep it going.”

“I live healthily and work out every day in order to keep my body as strong as possible.”

Use it every day and it’ll be there for us, still giving. Don’t use it and we’ll lose it. 

“Your body is like a car. It needs maintenance and care. If you don’t work out, your body will slowly deteriorate.”

 “What is really important in everybody’s life is to work out. Keep using your muscles and put your bones under pressure. If you don’t put your bones under pressure, nature thinks you don’t need them any more, and slowly they become brittle.”

He feels that what exercise we do is less important than that we repeatedly do it.

“I really do anything and everything—exercise is exercise. I try to use all of my muscles regularly. The muscles you don’t use eventually disappear, because nature thinks if you’re not using them you don’t need them.

“You must work out; if not you slowly degenerate. Exercising keeps your bones and muscles strong.”

Today, like every other day, you have a choice. What will you do with your gift?

I stumbled across 99-year-old Klaus Obermeyer during my 40 Days to Change for Good‘first 50 years alive transitioning into last 50 years alive’ retreat. Born in 1919 in Germany, he moved to Aspen, Colorado in 1947. He formed the company that he still oversees today(!), Sport Obermeyer, in 1950. 

Over the last seventy years, he has changed how we humans play outside in the winter. Here’s a partial list of his innovations: the first down parka from a goose down comforter his mother gave him before he moved to America, the first waterproof-breathable fabrics, high alpine sunscreen, nylon wind shirts, mirrored sunglasses, double-lensed goggles, two pronged ski brakes, lined ski boots, turtlenecks with elasticized collars. 

He’s also an inspiring guy – enthusiastic, energetic, cheerful, healthy, strong, fully alive. I began collecting what he had to say about how he has managed to enjoy ninety-nine years alive. Let Klaus inspire and guide you to be ‘happy from here to a hundred’.

Note: Most of Klaus’s quotes are from his 99thbirthday interview. (He was born Dec 2, 1919.) A few quotes are from his 98thand 96thbirthday interviews, among other sources.

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