‘I still feel 27!’ - Len Goodman on being active, playing golf and the magic of Strictly
Len Goodman is still jiving with the best of them. Despite two serious operations and arthritis, the former Strictly Come Dancing head judge is, according to the man himself, as “...fit as a biscuit and ready to rumble.” Such is the 74 year old’s appetite for life he recently helped Flexiseq launch #LetsGetMoving - a campaign to encourage people who suffer from osteoarthritis joint pain and stiffness to get moving again. The fleet-footed former BBC stalwart sat down with Flexiseq to discuss the campaign, how he negotiates his achy joints, and the juggernaut that is Strictly Come Dancing...
The secret is motivation.
I’ve got friends who are up at six, hit the gym and then they will go to work. I don’t have that in my locker, but I do know the importance of staying active. Keeping yourself loose and on the move, it’s absolutely key. As much as I sometimes find it difficult and I think ‘oh I won’t go to the gym this morning’, I drag myself there nonetheless. Even if it’s just to do a little wander on the treadmill or cross trainer, or just a cheeky swim.
I don’t need to motivate myself to play golf.
You imagine it as a leisurely thing, but you still have to walk four or so miles every round, and swing the club and so on. I absolutely love it and it’s great exercise too.
Anything that gets you motivated to move is terrific.
If you’re catching a bus, walk to the bus stop. It will do you the world of good. Take the stairs rather than the lift. I’m a big believer in that, as long as it’s not 22 flights! Exercise is so good for you, you’ve got to stay active.
When I had my knee surgery, my surgeon said; ‘Listen, the operation is only 20% of it, the other 80% is you exercising and moving and getting yourself mobile.’
I took that to heart and I exercised everyday. Starting with my shoulder, I was using resistance training and swimming. Then when I had my knee done I started off just walking in water and swinging my leg. It’s so important and it’s so easy to think, “Oh I’ve just got to rest it and sit down and do nothing,” but that’s useless!
It doesn’t matter how old you are, exercise is still key.
Dancing for 40 odd years was terrific exercise because it didn’t impact my body too much. It kept me loose and mobile. Obviously I don’t go to the gym to bench press anymore. I know my limitations but gentle exercise as you get older, does you the world of good. I think that’s the big thing; motivate yourself to move. You’ve got to move, you’ve got to stay active and I don’t care how old you are; my nan lived to be 100 and she gave up riding a bike when she was 84! She was always active my grandmother and I think I take after her a bit. I think it’s so important that we stay active.
A little bit of Flexiseq goes a long way.
I use it all the time and I’m sure it has played a part in helping me recover from the different operations I’ve had. As you get older, I’m 74 now, you sometimes wake up and you think blimey, I’m achy or got pains in my hand or ankle. But I just pop a bit of Flexiseq on my joints to help get them going. Combined with regular exercise, it doesn’t have to be strenuous all the time, and I’m as fit as a biscuit.
The Rivoli ballroom is a magical place for me.
I love it! I loved going back to the Rivoli to film my #LetsGetMoving mobility story because as soon as you get old, nostalgia is very important. Going back to the Rivoli Ballroom was like going back in time. I was suddenly 16 or 17 again, suited and booted and on the dancefloor. It was wonderful. It will always be a special place for me.
You’re like a shark when you get older. You have to keep moving!
If you’re achy take it easy. If you’re feeling good embrace it. But give yourself a gentle nudge to get going. It will do you and your joints the world of good!
Sometimes it’s easier to stay in bed.
As you get older it’s so easy to say, “I won’t bother today. But once you go, and you get yourself moving, it makes you feel great, mentally and physically. Exercise lifts the body and mind!
I’m still a kid at heart, or at least in my head.
I’ve had a wonderful life and I’m still enjoying it because I’m still active. The thing is your brain doesn’t age, in my brain I’m still 27! But your body can’t do the things you were doing 50 years ago, but it doesn’t matter! I feel great and I’m enjoying life. My initials are L.G. and Life’s Good!
I still watch Strictly when I can.
As per normal, I’m not really up to speed with who the contestants are! Most of them I’ve never heard of but it really doesn’t matter! You get to know them as the show goes along which is part of the magic. I’ll be watching! It’s a juggernaut that just keeps going and getting stronger and it’s a wonderful programme!
Strictly is an inspiration to people.
If you talk to any dance studio anywhere in Britain and America or anywhere that some form of Strictly is on, it has inspired a whole new generation to dance. Everyone wants to learn to dance and of course dance is a wonderful form of exercise, especially as you get older!
Here’s a little inspiration: