If you’re feeling like you can’t be bothered to do a workout today, or if your daily walk feels like a slog, take some inspiration from this 73-year-old fitness buff.
Rajinder Singh – who’s known as ‘The Skipping Sikh’ – is trying to keep fit and inspire others to get active by releasing videos of his daily exercise regimes – and they’re not exactly gentle.
The 73-year-old who lives in west London skips at a standard most boxers would envy, sprints laps of his allotment, lifts weights in the form of heavy watering cans and tyres, and even supports his own weight on a pull-up bar.
Rajinder, who is originally from the Punjab in India, is also raising money for the NHS in the process. He hopes that the more people see his videos, the more money will be raised.
‘My father taught me how to skip, and he was in the army – this is all he would do to exercise,’ Rajinder tells Metro.co.uk. ‘My father was a role model for me and I want to be a role model for my children.
‘I really enjoy skipping as I can have my prayers or kirtan on in the background and skip along which helps me to stay fit and healthy and clears my mind of any other worry or anxiety.’
Rajinder says that now that Sikh temples – gurdwaras – are closed because of the lockdown, it’s important for the Sikh community to stay connected. So he hopes his fitness videos will help people in his community feel less isolated.
‘Normally, people could come together to pray, sit and eat together, but now we need to ensure that as a community we have regular programmes on TV and social media to take the religious prayers to people, as well as exercise videos – which is why I am sharing my videos with gurdwaras and Sikh TV channels.
‘The elder community can otherwise feel down and upset and we don’t want this. We want to help each other get through this and come out much stronger so we have to stay positive and in chard kala (which is a state of happiness).’
Rajinder strongly believes that health is wealth, and that now, more than ever, people need to devote some time every day to being active – regardless of their age.
‘Being at home for long periods can make you feel closed in, depressed and upset,’ he explains. ‘If you exercise and do something you are helping yourself to stay active and healthy.’
Rajinder, with the help of his daughter Min, is uploading his fitness videos to YouTube, and asking everyone to join in with a fitness challenge every day. He is also encouraging people to donate to the NHS as part of the challenge.
‘People working for the NHS are amazing heroes, and I want to raise funds to help them,’ says Rajinder.
‘The reaction to my videos has been so heartwarming, I can’t believe how far my skipping video has reached – people are getting in touch from all over the world.
‘It has inspired people to start skipping, some are ordering skipping ropes, others are looking for their skipping ropes and some are just joining in to do exercise. My story has made people smile and this is so nice to hear.
‘I love to serve others and if I can help elderly people exercise regularly, and it potentially prevents them from falling ill, then I feel my duty as a Sikh to serve is being done.
‘My faith means everything to me and this is what gives me the strength at my age.’
Rajinder says while age isn’t a barrier to being active, you do have to be realistic about what you can achieve, and also be kind to your body.
‘You have to be careful not to do too much exercise and damage your knees or bones,’ he explains. ‘So you need to only do what your body can handle.
‘Also, you don’t want to slip or hurt yourself, so I would always say to people over 70 – exercise, but take it easy. As long as you are moving and doing something it is better than sitting on the sofa all day.’
Rajinder says he wants everyone over 70 to stay safe and stay at home.
‘Let’s help one another to get through this by staying active, being happy and always remember – things pass and we will get through this together. God bless you all.’
You can donate money to the NHS on Rajinder’s fundraising page here.
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