A World War Two veteran is still fighting fit thanks to a daily 90-minute gym workout – at the age of NINETY-EIGHT.
John Hamilton, a retired Army Major who was evacuated from Dunkirk, still enjoys a drink and smokes a pipe.
But the great-grandad – who turns 100 in April next year – is in remarkable shape thanks to his personal PT routine.
He arrives at his local gym at 8am every weekday morning and puts himself through a 90-minute routine that would leave many men half his age gasping.
A typical session sees him push his limits with 20 minutes on an exercise bike, 15 on the treadmill and then 400 stomach crunches.
John, who had a knee replacement seven years ago, also eats a healthy diet and goes for long walks – but also enjoys a glass of wine every night and a still smokes a pipe.
John’s impressive routine means he doesn’t suffer from arthritis, his lungs and heart are in perfect working order and he only goes to the doctors twice a year for a check up.
All this is despite him smoking an ounce of tobacco a week and drinking a glass of red or white every night – or two on weekends.
Widower John, who lives by himself in the Wiltshire village of Sutton Veny, said: “My age is just a number – it’s about how I feel.
“The gym has helped me to get into better shape and it has kept me feeling young.
“I think I look younger and I put that down to the gym. As you get older it’s like old car parts that wear out, but I think I’ve kept mine going.
“If I hadn’t been going to the gym I think I would be utterly bored of my life and I would have said, ‘I really don’t want to stick around any longer’.
“I’ve got no family near me, nothing to give me an incentive. If I didn’t go I think I probably would have gone by now.”
“I think I’m probably an example to other older people as to what you can do when you’re elderly.
“I see people exercising and they don’t work very hard. I really work at it, until it almost starts to hurt me. I’m not screaming, but I’m working.
“I’m in the oldest there and I’m in good shape, I must say.”
John, whose wife of 67 years Elsa died of dementia in 2006, has been a regular at Harridges Health and Fitness Studio in Warminster, Wilts., for 12 years.
Prior to that, the keen sportsman regularly played cricket, rugby, golf, cricket, rugby, tennis, squash and polo and served in the Army for 25 years as a young man.
After joining in 1939 he served with the 1st King’s Dragoon Guards and was evacuated from Dunkirk.
The same year he met his wife Elsa when they both sheltered under the same tree during a storm in Hyde Park and they married three years later.
John served in Palestine, Germany and Jordan and worked as a tank instructor, during 25-year career with the MoD.
He retired 34 years ago aged 64 but his pace of life didn’t slow and as well as going to the gym he enjoys long country walks on weekends.
“Mentally I’m stimulated – my mind works better when I exercise.
“Over the weekends I have no gym and I get rather fed up with myself because the gym has become a part of my life. All I can do on those days is walk for a mile or two.
“The other thing about the gym is the social side of it. People are so friendly.
“I’ve got a very big family but they all live abroad, so I don’t see much of them. I’m a bit of a loner in a way – it’s the only social activity I have.”
He said: “I would be interested to know if there are many other 98-year-olds doing the same thing – perhaps we could meet up and have a competition.
“I know nobody else who is doing anything similar and I haven’t heard anything.”
“The gym want me to keep going until I’m 100 and I have no plans to stop – absolutely not”
Health centre owner Julie Harridge, 48, said: “John is completely unique. We do have some older members but no one of 98.
“He inspires a lot of people – he’s amazing. If this doesn’t inspire people then I don’t know what will.”