Strides ahead

Alan Gulliver has been active his whole life. Now, he’s helping other residents in Elliot Gardens to improve their health too.

17 days, 315km, 413,000 steps: these are the numbers that made up Alan Gulliver’s walk across England. Since retiring in 2008, Alan and his wife Jan have conquered many things together, but completing the Coast to Coast walk in England at the age of 62 is something they’re both particularly proud of.

“It was a great thing to do together. It was quite demanding, so I’m glad we got a chance to do it while we were still able to,” he said.

“We walked for 17 days with a couple of rest days in there to check out the local area. About half of that was in the rain, but it was fantastic,” said Alan.

Back at their home in Elliot Gardens, Alan and Jan enjoy going for walks, cycling and playing tennis to stay active.

A year after Alan and Jan moved into the village, the gym instructor at Elliot Gardens finished up her scheduled sessions in the village. Taking the torch upon themselves, Jan and Alan started running a once-weekly circuit in the village gym for themselves and their mates to enjoy.

“I’ve put together a circuit of activities, spending about two minutes on each. It takes an hour to complete all up. It’s a great bit of exercise because you’re doing strengthening exercises as well as using the other equipment too,” he said.

Now, the sessions run two mornings a week and have received a lot of interest from the other residents of Elliot Gardens.

Having always been active, Alan is very familiar with the gym equipment and how to use it. Since retiring, he’s using this knowledge to help friends and other residents, giving them a hand and offering himself as a spotter, even outside of the scheduled sessions.

“Living in a community like this, the success of it comes down to the people who contribute and volunteer to do stuff. I wanted to do my bit to contribute to village life, and I’m always looking to improve things to keep life interesting” he said.

Earlier this year, Alan received six nominations for the Good Sports Awards, in recognition of his hard work and commitment to the village.

Staying active like Alan isn’t about being the fittest for your age, or even being particularly coordinated or strong. Studies have shown that even 20-25 minutes of walking per day can improve your health, increases your energy and even reduce the risk of other degenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s.

Just like Alan and Jan did while conquering the Coast to Coast walk, it’s really just as simple as putting one foot in front of the other.