The former railway engineer claimed that although his work as a track installer kept him in good shape, he fell in love with the gym when he began visiting there to stay in shape after retiring.
That happened 30 years ago. He regularly works out hard, using rowing machines, exercise cycles, leg presses, and biceps curls, but he also attends pilates classes.
I use every piece of equipment the gym has, from spinning classes to weightlifting and using the treadmill, said Sanna.
‘The body ought to be moving, in my opinion. I’m sure that even when I’m asleep, I move around. It operates like a machine. It starts to decay if you leave it sitting around.’
Sanna started working for British Rail in 1954 after moving to the UK from Sardinia, Italy, if the name wasn’t obvious enough already.
And in those early days, the physical effort required to move heavy tracks had been sufficient to maintain him in top physical condition.
Early in the 1990s, when Mario finally put down his tools, he realized he needed a new method of exercising and joined his first gym.
The only thing stopping him from driving to the gym as regularly as he’d like is an eye ailment.
After an operation, he hopes to come back more frequently, but for the time being, a buddy picks him up on Friday and Monday.
I had to make a lot of money at the time because I was getting married, so I worked every Sunday, he explains. ‘It was always highly manual labour.’
He described his typical practice, saying, ‘I always think I need to extend my legs as they’re carrying the rest of my body, and that’s one thing I’ll address as the number one.’
After that, I’ll work on the rest of the body, including the arms and legs.
‘I also practice Pilates and anything else that will make me physically fitter than I am right now. In addition, I’ll lift a 25 kg bar and use the cables.
I usually work out for between one hour and two hours. However, if the coffee maker is functional, I might remain for 2.5 hours.
Weightlifting, which may not only raise your heart rate like an exercise bike but also helps preserve bone density and stave off muscle atrophy,
is becoming more popular among seniors in America as the focus of healthcare shifts away from cardiovascular activity like brisk walking or swimming.
Mario described his gym mates as his ‘family,’ and he just celebrated his 94th birthday with a number of them.
‘They all constantly ask to see you. He said, ‘It’s like a family. ‘This is where they had the party for my birthday. Here, they gave it a party.’
Mario claimed to be the oldest member of his gym but advised other senior citizens to give it a shot if they want to stay in shape.
’I believe I am the oldest. Anyone should do it, especially if they’re alone, to get out of the house and do something, in my opinion.’