Work, diet and exercise key to longevity, says ‘fittest pensioner’

Dr Charles Eugster (94) tells Dublin convention that ‘retirement should be abolished’

Meet the World's fittest OAP, Dr Charles Eugster, who at the tender age of 94 has decided to give bodybuilding a rest to concentrate on his sprinting career. Video: Darragh Bambrick / Photographs by Terri Potoczna.


The three secrets to longevity are work, diet and exercise – in that order, one of the world’s fittest pensionsers said in Dublin today.

Dr Charles Eugster, who turns 95 next month, said he believed retirement should be abolished.

“The most important thing for anyone is work regardless of how old you are,” he said. “Work is the fundamental thing for longevity”

The London-born grandfather, who now lives in Switzerland, is a 34 times World Masters Rowing Championship Gold medallist and three time World Strenflex champion.

He scored the highest number of points ever in last year’s Strenflex European Championships, in which he performed a routine that featured 61 chin-ups, 50 push-ups, 48 abdominal crunches and 57 dips - each completed in 45 seconds.

Dr Eugster was a key note speaker at the inaugural Register of Exercise Professionals convention at UCD today (friday).

He told the convention: “For me personally, I consider retirement a financial catastrophe and a health disaster. Older people should be working and they would be healthier as a result.”

Dr Eugster added: “Get rid of retirement – you can always learn something new at any age...The purpose of life is to have a purpose in life.

“Take for example the Queen of England; she is no exercise fanatic but she has a job and she works hard at this job and she’s 87. It’s the job that keeps her healthy and keeps her alive.”

Dr Eugster worked as a dentist until the age of 75 and later as a publisher. He was unemployed from the age of 82 to 90, a period he describes as one of the “worst times” of his life.

He partly attributed his strict fittest regime to vanity.

“’I’m a very vain person so my main motivation to start was because my body was deteriorating and I was losing muscle mass. My first coach was a former Mr Universe who started me on a new regime. I lost two stone, developed a six pack and muscles.”

Dr Eugster hasn’t been to the doctor in years and continues to trains at the gym three or four times a week.He said he is worried about the growing ageing population in which diabetes and obesity are on the rise, which he described as a “growing pandemic.”

“Old age can be a chamber of horrors but it’s never too late to change your life and try something new.”