Bobbie gets back on his bike at 97 years-old

Bobbie Bell at Lifestyle Fitness, Templemore Sports Complex, with Sean Harrigan and John Paul Glenn from Derry City Council active communities. (2110PG86)
Bobbie Bell at Lifestyle Fitness, Templemore Sports Complex, with Sean Harrigan and John Paul Glenn from Derry City Council active communities. (2110PG86)

At 97 years old, Bobbie Bell may be the oldest man in the gym but he still loves every minute of it.

The Waterside nonagenarian attends Lifestyle Fitness at Templemore Sports Complex twice each week, having signed up to a Derry City Council health drive.

Bobbie, a member of the Golfing Union of Ireland, told the ‘Journal’ he was enjoying every minute of his new fitness regime whether he’s on a bike or a treadmill. “I feel very well and all the better for it,” he said.

Bobbie, who will celebrate his 98th birthday next month, wanted to improve his fitness to help him get in and out of his chair with less difficulty.

“I had fallen and was having trouble getting in and out of the chair and I wanted to make it easier. I tried all the exercises the doctor gave me but I still struggled to get in and out of chairs. I thought if I had a bicycle that would be great but I was advised against it. Then I thought I could go to one of the leisure centres and get on one of the stationary bikes. I was then told about the free programme by a lady in the doctor’s surgery and I was delighted when I spoke to former [Derry City] footballer Sean Hargan and he said I was very welcome.”

Mr Hargan, works as a exercise specialist on the GP Referral Programme run by Derry City Council’s Sports Development Department. He said the programme was established to help people with “life limiting conditions” such as high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, obesity, mental health conditions, by engaging them in physical activity.

“The programme has proved highly successful as demonstrated by the experience of Bobbie Bell and Derry City Council would like to see more and more of our older residents and indeed anyone in need of such support to make contact and become involved,” he said. The fitness programmes are based at council leisure centres and involve working with exercise specialists to tailor effective and enjoyable physical activity programmes. The programme is free of charge. For further details contact Sean Hargan or John Paul Glenn on 028 71 361566.