Staying in top shape a major focus for former AFL player
Former Australian rules footballer and GemLife Woodend resident Graeme Robertson, originally from Bendigo, says keeping fit has been a priority every day of his life and he is not about to kick the habit now.
“As you start to get a bit older, it actually becomes even more important to eat well and keep fit and active,” said Graeme 68, who had a good initiation into health and wellbeing during his late teens and early 20s as an AFL player with Carlton, Richmond and Port Adelaide.
He wore the 37 jersey for Carlton and 24 for Richmond, and at 196cm tall (6feet 5inches) was a towering figure in the centre of the oval.
Graeme was playing for Richmond in 1980 when the team recorded its first appearance in the VFL Premiership decider, a match they won by a massive 81 points. However, work commitments made him unavailable to play in the Grand Final day match much to Graeme’s dismay.
“In those days, football didn’t pay players what it pays today, and we had to make our living elsewhere. Unfortunately, my work took me overseas at the time of the Grand Final,” said Graeme.
But the health-conscious footy player believes his active years in the AFL gave him a good grounding in how to keep fit for a lifetime.
“During my football years I started out at 68 kilos and finished at 110 kilos because I had to build up muscle and eat well to keep fit enough to play in the Victorian Football League and later, the South Australian National Football League.”
“We trained for a minimum of three times a week during my footy years. When I left in about 1981, I started playing basketball with some other ex-footballers in a team we called the Cheetahs to ensure we maintained our fitness. Our team of ex-Carlton players continued on for another six or seven years.”
Graeme said that the extra muscle built up to play professional sports could turn to flab if people suddenly stopped exercising or started eating the wrong foods, something he wanted to avoid at all costs.
Today, the former ruckman, who has two children and two grandchildren, continues to maintain a hectic sports and fitness regime between full-time work installing security cameras into commercial premises and private homes.
At a healthy 98 kilos, Graeme says he is still as committed as ever to staying healthy.
“The important thing is to make healthy choices such as fresh fruits, vegetables and salads. I eat plenty of grills with salad and while I still enjoy the odd beer, I also limit my alcohol intake which is a good thing to do as you get older. Smoothies are a big favourite of mine too.”
Playing sports also continues to figure prominently on Graeme’s activities calendar with golfing and gym workouts at the top of the list.
“GemLife Woodend also has a golf simulator which I wouldn’t mind using but I work from 7am to 7pm which can make it a bit hard to fit into my day,” said Graeme.