Retired producers find more time for physical activity

Lorne Enright took up pickle ball when he retired from farming. He said he likes the fast pace of the game.  | Mary MacArthur photo

CAMROSE, Alta. — Lorne Enright doesn’t know if his son believes him, but sometimes he cancels a pickleball game to help out on the farm.

If his body would allow, Enright said he would play pickleball every day. Instead, the retired farmer plays pickleball three times a week, golfs in the summer and walks on Camrose’s walking trails when he can.

Since moving from the farm in Rosalind to Camrose eight years ago, Enright has had more time to enjoy sports.

“I do it for fitness and to meet people. I have always had a competitive spirit when it comes to sport. Pickleball is a good fit,” said Enright.

Pickleball is a paddleboard sport that combines elements of badminton, table tennis and tennis, played on a badminton-size court.

“It’s a fast-paced game. You’re not waiting around and watching for someone to tee off,” he said.

Enright likes the socializing of golf but the action of pickleball.

“I am not a card player, I like the physical aspect of being involved in sports.”

Last summer, Enright played in several pickleball tournaments across Alberta. During his normal four-month winter break in Arizona, he has played in tournaments in Arizona and California.

“I have more time. I have no responsibilities to get in the way,” said Enright, who still helps out during seeding and harvesting.

Enright has always been active in sports. When he was younger he played baseball in the summer and curled in the winter. Because of COVID-19, he likely won’t go to Arizona this winter and may take up curling again, a sport he hasn’t played in a number of years because of his winter vacations in Arizona.

A change he may make is doing stick curling.

“It seems like a nice civilized way to deliver a rock down the ice. I don’t need to get down in the hack anymore.”

When Gord Johnsen sold his Oyen, Alta., pharmacy, he tried new sports to stay active and meet people.

“I had to make an effort to put myself out there. Physical activity became a very important part of the interaction with friends,” said Johnsen, who spends the summer in Alberta and the winter in Arizona.

“As a medical professional, I’m a real advocate of exercise and activity for the body and the mind.”

In the first year spending the winter in Arizona, he put 3,533 kilometres on his road bike, one of the first activities he tried. He has since switched to hiking and pickleball to stay active.

“Being a snowbird brought me the activity I had no time for.”

When Don Rudzika moved from the farm in Viking to Camrose, his doctor said he needed to be purposeful about exercise. With animals to feed and jobs to do on the farm, it was easy to maintain his fitness level.

To help keep active and flexible, Rudzika gets up at 6 a.m. and does half an hour of stretching and flexibility exercises each morning.

“It is amazing how good that stretching makes you feel.”

When the pandemic ends, Rudzika wants to join a pickleball club.

“I think that would be great.”

Marie Rudzika walked every day while on the farm and it’s an activity she has continued since moving to Camrose. Each day, she aims to walk for one and a half hours. It is a way to get exercise and to learn the streets of her new hometown.

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