100-Year-Old Masters Swimmer

jaring timmerman

100-year-old Jaring Timmerman is a force to be reckoned with. Just a month ago the swimming sensation broke four world records in the 50m and 100m freestyle/backstroke races at the Canadian Masters Swimming Championships.

Since he began swimming competitively at the age of 78, Timmerman has accumulated over 170 medals and has traveled to many countries, as far as Denmark, to compete.

Looking at the sweet-smiling athlete, who hails from Winnipeg, Manitoba, it is hard to believe he is a centenarian. “Doctors tell me I have the body of a 70 year old,” boasts Timmerman. So how does he do it? Through the healthy lifestyle of GEDS, an acronym he came up with while giving a talk to a senior’s residence. Timmerman says through Genes, Diet Exercise and Spirit he has managed to live like a man twenty years his junior throughout most of his life.

Genes are Like Habits

It may seem like hereditary genes are beyond anyone’s control, but not so, says Timmerman. “If genes are formed by bad habits, and they are...then good habits should be able to make good genes," Timmerman said on CTV's Canada AM.

Exercise Daily

Timmerman swims three times a week and lifts weights each day. Not only does he recommend physical fitness to those of every age but he also points out exercising the mind is just as important. Every day he says he reads and works on the newspaper’s crossword puzzles so his brain is fresh with thought.

Diethas to be Strict

Enjoy eating beets? How about Brussels sprouts? Well you should, says Timmerman, because eating a variety of vegetables and fruits are exactly what help keep him living longer. Timmerman is very strict with his diet. He doesn’t eat or drink sugary foods, such as chocolate bars and colas. He’s also never had a sip of alcohol in his life. “That was a difficult promise to keep during my WWII days, but I did,” said Timmerman.

Spirit Must be Positive

Timmerman has been an active member of the Salvation Army since his childhood, which he believes has helped keep him on the straight path towards a happy life. He also firmly believes in setting attainable goals, to keep life interesting and challenging. In 1999 a reporter asked him what his current goal was and Timmerman answered, “Well, I guess to swim till I’m 100!” Now that that goal is accomplished Timmerman explains he would like to break records in Olympic sized pools (50 meters in length rather than the 25 meter length pools he usually competes in.)

Timmerman believes if people follow his GEDS principle than they will live a long, healthy life, just as he has for the past 100 years.

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