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Ageing, fitness and work: Where’s the reward for staying fit?

by on March 18, 2015

I can see a bit of a theme emerging from recent posts on the topic of ageing, fitness and work.

What caught my eye today was this item on the Wales Online website about an Army Reservist and sport and fitness lecturer at Cardiff and Vale College (Kevin Fulthorpe) who has reportedly been told that he couldn’t continue in post as a physical training instructor with the Army on reaching his 61st birthday. He says this was despite meeting the fitness criteria for an Army physical training instructor 30 years his junior, saying. “I may be 61, but even the Army admits I meet the elite training standard for someone half my age.”

Yesterday of course we covered the case of the cricket umpires who had at retire at 65  even though they were described as being at the top of their profession with no suggestion that they were unfit to perform. Earlier this month, we highlighted the CIPD report on employee attitudes and in particular the prediction about a collaborative approach required by employees, employers and Government to look after both the minds and bodies of staff as they age.

Well here we have two instances where it looks as if the older workers (not sure if they are employees or not) were undoubtedly fit but nevertheless have still not been able to continue working in their previous roles. One might ask, if that’s the case for super-fit older workers, what might the case be for others? Are these decisions related to the inherent physicality of the work? It certainly doesn’t seem to offer any reward for their fitness within the confines of their current work – though it may be an advantage in getting other jobs. As Age Cymru’s chief executive Ian Thomas is reported as saying: “Kevin’s story clearly demonstrates the demoralising effect that age-based policies can have on us.”

  1. Kevin Fulthorpe permalink

    Many thanks for highlighting my story. Good news. Since this report went out I have been taken on by the Royal Air Force and for the last year I have been responsible for training both regulars and reservists.

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