Federal minister and member for Bennelong, John Alexander OAM.
Federal minister and member for Bennelong, John Alexander OAM.

Tennis to politics: Alexander looking for the right balance

FORMER tennis great and now Federal Government MP, John Alexander OAM, works long hours in his public life which puts a strain on his health.

A younger man may not think this is a significant issue, but for the 66-year-old, who in a former life was extremely active when competing on the international tennis circuit for 18 years, finding a balance between work and health is important to living a healthy and consequently, happy ageing life.

Seniors News caught up with the member for Bennelong while he was savouring the short Christmas-time break from Canberra, distracting him from his game of golf with his partner Deb Chadwick, for a chat about keeping healthy in a fast-paced world.

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"I'm very good at lecturing people about it, but I'm not very good at doing it myself," Mr Alexander said. "Inevitably you do what has to be done at work and then you squeeze in whatever you can as far as maintenance goes."

Alexander tries to find the right balance between work and staying healthy.
Alexander tries to find the right balance between work and staying healthy.

The start of every new year he makes a commitment to finding a better health balance. "This New Year's Eve resolution was more exercise, less food, less alcohol," Mr Alexander said. "Then I read everyone has made the same one."

It's a tough resolution to achieve as Mr Alexander, like many other MPs, is on the job at least six days and often six nights a week as well. While many of them put on weight, Mr Alexander has consciously worked on his, even following the 5:2 Diet to trim off the edges of a lifestyle that involves a lot of work functions.

Preserving at least one day a week for relaxation and outdoor activity is a must for him. Sometimes he gets that day, sometimes he doesn't. But when he does get a day off, he enjoys his golf or a social game of tennis. Otherwise, he tries to fit in a little bit of running, walking and some gym work.

"I am reasonably active, but nowhere near regimented enough because the life of a politician doesn't give you that standard nine-to-five," he said. "You might be out seven nights in a row so when you are and have to work through the next day, you try to catch every minute of sleep you can," he said.


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