Health and happiness: the secret to village life

Our residents’ happiness is important to us, which is why we continually seek their feedback on how they feel living in one of our villages. The results continue to advocate the positive living experiences residents have with us, with four out of five residents very satisfied with everything village life has to offer.

Practising GP, Dr Paul Stone, lives at Little Bay Apartments in NSW. He knows more than most about what it takes to lead an active, healthy life.

I have been a general practitioner for a very long time – 51 years to be exact. I still work four mornings a week from 8:45 to 12:45 and I’ve always lived a fit and healthy life. I started running in 1970, so I’ve been running for 46 years. I’ve been cycling for almost 40 years and swimming for about 35 years. I do triathlons too and in 1984 competed in the Hawaiian Ironman. It’s pretty much the holy grail of triathlons, in Hawaii. It consists of a 3.8km swim in the ocean, a 180.2km bike ride, then you get off the bike and run a full marathon of 42km. I’ve cut down on my major distances now but I still get on the bike twice a week and do about 45 or 50 kilometres with a couple of friends. I’ve done about 19 marathons and 33 City-to-Surfs and a bit of this and a bit of that.

My wife and I moved into Little Bay Apartments six years ago. We’ve got a nice three-bedroom apartment with views over the golf course and the ocean and a balcony front and back. The lounge room has almost one full wall of glass with sliding doors. At certain times of the year you can see the whales breaching as they’re going down south and you can watch the yachts on the harbour on Boxing Day – it’s a great place.

Recently I started Little Bay Apartments Men’s Night In. You hear about the ladies having a night out, and I thought it would be nice to get together with the gentlemen here and have a talk and a laugh. Everybody seems to enjoy it – even the wives say it’s a good thing because it gets their husbands out rather than them just sitting in front of the TV. We meet at 6 o’clock on Tuesday evenings once a month. We sit at one big table, prepare some soup, order some takeaway pizza from one of the nearby restaurants and have some sweets. After that, we go into the theatre and we watch a movie – an action movie usually – something with the likes of Samuel L. Jackson or Denzel Washington or Bruce Willis. We’ve got quite a following now – about 26 on the list. I print out personal invitations for everybody and pop them in the letterbox about a week or so before.

I really do feel a lot younger than my chronological age. I’m very keen on keeping fit and I think it gives you a positive outlook mood-wise. As I like to say, you can’t get health from a health food store. You can take vitamins and herbs if you like, but all that really does is make the company owner a millionaire. If you eat well and exercise a bit, you don’t need that other stuff. It’s all too easy to sit in front of the TV and watch it for hours, but in this area, which is really flat, it’s so simple to get up and go for a walk. Even if you’ve had a hip or a knee replacement, there’s nothing stopping you from getting out.

Where food is concerned, I’m definitely from the everything in moderation school of thought. I like to eat out occasionally, though I don’t go overboard and try to maintain my weight. All I can say is it’s lucky we only have pizza for our boy’s night in once a month, because I really, really love pizza.