Darrell Murphy is a fit and trim retired farmer who appears much younger than his 85 years.

You wouldn’t know it to look at him, but Darrell has also survived recent bowel cancer surgery, and a quadruple bypass two years ago. Things weren’t always this way. Despite what you might think, life on the land can be quite inactive. Farming didn’t keep me fit. I didn’t do any heavy work, and always used machinery, he says. My back hurt, and I struggled to get up out of a chair.

After he retired in 2012, he had a lightbulb moment where he realised if he wanted to keep going, he needed to get out and get fit. It was near Christmas and I was sitting in a chair out the back enjoying the sunshine, and I thought I could just stay here and not go anywhere. And I suddenly said, “What am I talking about? I’ve got to get up and about.”

He started walking regularly. In the beginning, he couldn’t even walk 100 metres before he had to stop. He gradually increased the distance until he was walking 4 kilometres. By the end of the year, he’d decided to sign up at the Hamilton Indoor Leisure Activity Centre for some strength training. This was another big step in his life.

You need to be organised and get a professional program. It’s no good just walking or doing weights. You need to make sure you’re moving forward, and if you’re not organised you can hurt yourself. Even though he’s had serious health issues since he started training, he credits his fitness regime to helping him recover from two major surgeries. He puts his success down to having a routine. You have to have a routine or you won’t do it. You won’t get the improvement that you want to achieve.