Footy legend Ross Glendinning, super-active at 62, confesses he has a “leg-up” for keeping fit.
“I’m lucky working in a footy club where I have access to all the facilities when they aren’t being used,” he told me.
“There’s encouragement for you in that sort of environment.
“But almost everyone – unless physically-impaired – has the opportunity to be active and have some level of fitness.”
Ross, the first captain of the mighty West Coast Eagles 33 years ago, is West Coast’s manager corporate relations.
“He’s chief cook and bottle-washer,” joked a West Coast staffer when we rang to confirm Ross’s title.
Ross, the Eagles leading goal kicker in 1987 and 1988, brims with health but he says he likes occasional sweet things, a beer and food “all in moderation.”
He says the key to being active is being switched-on mentally and physically.
“The former rent-a-car boss Bob Ansett said if you want something done ask a busy person. If you laze around and say I’ll do something tomorrow you’ll probably walk to the fridge.
“Some of us are fortunate to have had a little activity in earlier times and it’s easier to maintain. If you stop for a while, after months or years it’s far harder to get back to a level of fitness or activity.
“If you are physically able to do exercise you might be able to say I can do a bit more.
“WA is blessed with its weather so it’s not hard to go to a beach or a park or walk down a path.”
Ross says people’s principles and priorities tend to shift as they age.
“As you get older you will want to muck around with your kids and grandkids. I’ve got three daughters and four grandkids under six. It’s great if they can say: ‘Come on Pop, come down to the beach’ and not feel incapable.
“You don’t have to run triathlons or row boats or paddle boards, although you can.
“Every month I’ll say to my wife, Kerry, there’s some new revelation that red wine or chocolate is good for you or not good for you. Again, everything in moderation.”
Ross said being active also means socializing, mixing and communicating.
“Keep up with the times and what is happening.
“One of the great things today is younger people joining a bowling club, a cheaper way of having fun and joining-in and socialising.
“And also for people over 50 and 60 it is stimulating with their kind of conversation and with people of a similar ilk. Not having the same adult contact on an ongoing, daily basis. You hear and see things and think why not go and do something yourself.”
Ross says he feels lucky in that he also enjoys exercising. If I’m not doing something after a few days I might get cranky. When I’m doing something, I feel better.
“There are medical issues with some people. There might be a hip replacement or knee problem but you do a bit of exercise, whatever you are able,” says the Brownlow Medalist who played for the Eagles, North Melbourne and East Perth. (His father,Gus, played 69 games for the Royals, 1941 to 1951).
Ross was inducted into the WA Hall of Champions, Australian Football Hall of Fame, WA Football Hall of Fame and North Melbourne Hall of Fame. He was named in North Melbourne’s Team of the Century. The Ross Glendinning Medal, for the best WA Derby player, is named in his honour.
Ross was also Dockers chairman of selectors in 2000-2002.