Despite his difficulty walking, Ken Johnson, a 90-year-old living in Corpus Christi, paddles and cycles more than 100 miles along the South Texas coast each week.
Johnson, born and raised in Seattle, was on a trip to Mexico when he first drove through Corpus Christi. He fell in love with the area and decided to retire on the coast in 1992.
For Johnson, living near water was important. He taught kayaking for years, but degenerative disc disease and sciatica began making it difficult to walk. He realized he could no longer carry a heavy kayak to the water.
“I found that I needed the biking to keep the movement in my hips, which seemed to age with the sciatica,” Johnson said. “It also kept my weight down. I was up to 210 pounds at one point, and when I started biking, I got down to 178 pounds.”
He currently averages 15 miles on his bike each day and more than 100 miles a week. He recently switched from a 21-speed bike to a bike with an electric motor that makes it easier to pedal uphill or against strong winds.
A year ago, he discovered inflatable paddle boards that weighed less than 20 pounds, giving him the opportunity to get back in the water. Now he starts his morning with a two-hour paddle along Corpus Christi’s bayfront and ends his night with a two-hour ride starting at Cole Park.
“I walk like a duck, but I bike like an eagle and I paddle like a dolphin,” Johnson said.
Though some would think the South Texas heat would make a two-hour bike ride uncomfortable, Johnson says the breezy coast makes exercising pleasant.
For those who are older, Johnson says the secret to staying active is becoming active. He recommends online exercise programs designed for seniors such as Grow Young Fitness, which features workouts that can be done while sitting.
“I have trouble walking, but I found if I do my weight-lifting and aerobics and everything seated, I can get to the point where I can do it standing,” Johnson said.
“No matter what, whether I feel good or bad, I always do my exercise every day and that makes a big difference.”
Ashlee Burns covers trending and breaking news in South Texas.
This article originally appeared on Corpus Christi Caller Times: This 90-year-old Texas man cycles 100 miles a week. Here’s his advice.