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Fitness Philosophy Makes for Adventurous Aging

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John Gorndt, right, is pictured with Garden Home neighbor John Seepe.

As John Gorndt was preparing to hurtle down an Alaskan mountain on a zipline, the 80-year-old only had one thought in mind: “It doesn’t look like they cleared very many trees out of the way.”

And though he is in envious physical condition for his age, he was not quite ready to follow the lead of his children and the zipline instructor. “I’m smart enough to realize I’m not in the condition I was in 20 years ago, and I’m not about to do somersaults while I’m tearing down a mountain,” he laughs.

So what kind of condition is he in? Pretty good! John walks for 40 minutes seven days a week, plays golf three times a week and jogs on a treadmill in Springhill’s Fitness Center for 35 minutes three days a week. All of this despite suffering a slight stroke several years ago.

Snowbirds spend winters in Florida
During the winters, he and his wife Santina live in Ft. Myers, Florida, where they both spend a good deal of time golfing. John proudly notes the four hole in ones he has accumulated over his career and notes that his wife got one two years ago.

“My motivation for fitness is the prevention of the problems you can encounter as you age,” John says. “My week is full of exercise and it helps me keep in shape and feel good. It relaxes me and helps keep my blood pressure in check.”

Santina heads to Springhill’s Fitness Center three times a week, walking on the treadmill and lifting weights.

Alaskan tour with the family
Travel is another passion for the couple. John traveled quite a bit with his job as a mechanical engineer, and the couple have toured Russia and Europe. However, only Alaska made John want to return, so this year, he gathered his children and their grandchildren, now adults, for a combination land and ocean tour of the state.

Highlights included Denali National Park, a whale watch and lots of side excursions to view glaciers and wildlife.

“Of all the places I’ve ever been, Alaska is the only place I’ve ever wanted to go back,” John says. “The scenery is just spectacular. And we saw so much wildlife, grizzly bears and cubs, a bull moose and wolves. One family member took 1,200 photos.”

As for the zipline, that’s a trip he won’t be repeating.

“There was no way the kids were going to convince me, but they did convince John,” Santina says, laughing at John’s less-than-enthusiastic review of the ride. “I think his engineering background made it worse because he kept wondering about the condition of the zipline apparatus.”