How I Got This Body: 98 years young

  • Article by: SHEILA MULROONEY ELDRED , Special to the Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 14, 2013 - 6:39 PM

Al Mohr, 98, Minneapolis, retired meat cutter and milkman, bowler

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Al Mohr of south Minneapolis showed off his Schwinn. His last bike ride ended in a nasty fall, but he stays active in many other ways.

Photo: Joel KoyAma , Star Tribune

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Every morning, 98-year-old Al Mohr slides some bread into the toaster, warms his coffee in the microwave and does his balancing exercises at his kitchen sink while the slices toast. Later, he makes his way backward down the stairs to the basement, where he does a variety of exercises — step-ups, leg kicks, sit-ups with dumbbells, arm pulls with a Thera-Band — prescribed by a therapist to alleviate his arthritis. He goes bowling every week, mows the lawn, paints his fence. He attributes his longevity and good health to a lifetime of physical activity.

 

IN THE GENES

“My mom lived to be 96. When I reached that, I was happy, but I didn’t think I’d go farther — but here I am.”

 

DEPRESSION-ERA FITNESS

“I’ve always exercised. I’d always do push-ups first thing in the morning; regular, and then one-handed. I’d do pull-ups on the bars on the corner near my parochial school. When I was a kid, I played football, baseball, shot horseshoes. Sometimes a friend could get us some tennis racquets. My mother kept me busy in the garden, and we always ate very healthy food — liver, beef stew, soups, rice, puddings, peaches and pears we canned … carrots, potatoes, beans, anything she could grow. A lot of good vegetables.”

 

REAL WORK

“My work was physical. I was a meat cutter for 12 years and a milkman for 12 years. When I was 17, I cut my finger off in a cheese grinder. I went to the doctor across the street, and he sewed it up and I went back to work. It didn’t hurt. I’m tough in a lot of ways.”

 

VOLLEYS AND STRIKES

“I started bowling after I got out of the service, when I could afford to. I also got a book of instructions for golf, mostly how to drive, and the rest I taught myself. We played tennis and golf till our 80s. Four of us used to go every Sunday after church. I hated to stop. … I couldn’t pull the carts anymore. We also walked to the park sometimes, but [his wife June] was a long-legged blond Norwegian gal, and she’d say, ‘Can’t ’cha walk any faster?’ ”

DON'T SLOW DOWN

“I cut the grass … my family got together and gave me a power mower and I go slow. I painted the fence; I was able to sit on a chair for the bottom half. The doctor won’t let me be on a ladder. … I follow all the doctor’s directions to the letter.”

 

HIS HONEY

“She passed away last October; she was 96. I miss her. We were together 67 years. Toward the end, she was getting up four to six times a night. I got up with her. I took care of all her pills. In the last month, I was giving her baths, because she didn’t want a stranger to do it. She’d say, ‘You’re doing everything!’ And I’d say, ‘But you’ve helped me in so many ways.’ I enjoyed every minute with her.”

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  • Mohr has a sharp mind and a buff body. He mows the lawn, tends a garden and bowls three games every Thursday.

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