100-year-old exercise enthusiast celebrates his birthday at the fitness center
Longtime Escondido resident Irwin Wertheimer turned 100 and celebrated his birthday at his local gym 24 Hour Fitness, where he trains several times a week.
“Why not?” said Wertheimer. He was heading there anyway for his one-hour practice on Monday morning. He went there as usual and brought his dog, DJ, a Welsh corgi from Pembroke.
But aside from drill, there was more in store for Wertheimer.
Escondido Mayor Paul McNamara presented Wertheimer with a certificate in honor of his 100th birthday and called it “Irwin Wertheimer Day”.
Wearing a black sports cap and belt, which read “100 Never Looked So Good,” Wertheimer received cheers from dozens of other sportsmen and gym staff.
“Irwin is one of our favorite members at 24HF because he is always smiling and so happy, especially on Fridays when he brings DJ, his corgi. His secrets to living a long life: “Try to be happy, don’t hold grudges, never smoke and eat a healthy diet,” said Chris M.vsClure, general manager of Escondido La Terraza 24 Hour Fitness.
Wertheimer, who has frequented this gym for over 20 years, takes three senior fitness classes a week; two cardio classes and one yoga class of one hour each. Until about five years ago he also swam, and when he was younger he ran and played football.
“You have to exercise,” Wertheimer said. Along with his workouts, he goes for walks – about 1.5 to 2 miles a day, all around his neighborhood.
The 100-year-old exercise enthusiast inspires others in his classes, where he is the oldest participant.
“Irwin’s 20+ year membership in 24HF – about 20% of his life – is just going to show you that regular exercise will help you live a longer, happier life,” McClure said.
Exercise tops the list when Wertheimer is asked about the secret to a long and happy life. But there is more than he said.
“Live one day at a time and be happy,” Wertheimer said.
“Good food and an optimistic attitude are important and don’t smoke – I lost my wife to smoking,” said Wertheimer, whose wife, Marilyn, died aged 81 three years ago.
Wertheimer, who lives independently in her home, prepares her own meals and ensures they are healthy. A typical breakfast includes salmon with broccoli, sprouts, blueberries, raspberries, tomatoes, and almond milk and maybe a poached egg, but no bacon. For lunch, he often has soup and a banana, and for dinner, meat, chicken, or shrimp. He drinks a lot of water and only drinks wine (no beer) for social occasions and drinks green tea (no coffee).
Work kept Wertheimer young.
“Work is challenging,” said Wertheimer, who kept going to the office until he was 89.
His son took over as CEO of the Escondido-based family business Count Machinery Inc. 15 years ago, but Wertheimer has continued to work there doing his part. The company manufactures print finishing products ranging from binding and punching to numbering for the graphic arts industry worldwide.
He jokes that he never worked a single day in his life because he loved his job.
“For me, work is a challenge. I loved it,” Wertheimer said.
After World War II, and after serving as a member of the Marine Corps at Chicago’s Great Lake Naval Base, Wertheimer began working as an inventor. He worked on updating printing presses to be more efficient. Wertheimer, who holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Northwestern University in the Chicago area, worked with an engineer to design one of the first bimatic dialing machines that moves forward and backward.
Wertheimer, who was born in Cleveland, is planning a big family birthday party in September with three younger siblings, all of whom are in their 90s. His siblings, as well as his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren are expected to travel across the country and around the world for the event.
Wertheimer continues to keep his mind sharp with his hobbies, collecting stamps, beer cans, and other artifacts and taking graduate courses at California State University San Marcos through the All-Learning Program. throughout Osher’s life. He took courses, for example in Greek and Roman history and the history of religions.
“It’s important to be curious and stay interested in the world,” he said. “I don’t like the situation with the war. I wish people would make love instead of war.
Wertheimer’s advice: “You have to laugh. You only go around once, so be grateful and enjoy the days you have.