How on earth does Biggles keep fit?

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How on earth does Biggles keep fit?

Post by SopwithCamel » Sun Dec 09, 2018 11:22 am

Following on a bit from the thread about Biggles' physical strength, how on earth does Biggles stay fit? As far as I can tell, he (and Algy and the others, more or less):

1. Smokes like a chimney
2. Drinks like a fish
3. Has never been seen to do much in the way of exercise
4. Eats a lot of carbs and quite a lot of protein
5. Skips quite a lot of meals due to capture, almost getting killed, and not feeling very hungry
6. Lives by the mottos, "Why run when you're not being chased" and "Why stand when you can sit"
7. Lots of stress

And yet even in the air police books, there are multiple references to times when Biggles displays superhuman strength, or when Ginger marvels at Biggles' strength and endurance.

Seriously, Biggles, what are you on? :smoking:
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Re: How on earth does Biggles keep fit?

Post by kylie_koyote » Sun Dec 09, 2018 3:49 pm

Following WW1, he doesn’t drink hard liquor, except for medicinal purposes / shock.

They walk around London quite a bit, so probably get their 10,000 steps a day, when they’re at home.

But he doesn’t like exercise like jogging, and I can’t see him as the type to do 100 sit-ups and pushups immediately upon waking, either.
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Re: How on earth does Biggles keep fit?

Post by Frecks » Sun Dec 09, 2018 4:44 pm

Biggles is a super hero. Ginger has never plumbed the depths of his stamina and endurance and his ability to keep going when everyone else is exhausted. The weather, loss of sleep and lack of food and water affect him far less than other, lesser mortals.

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Re: How on earth does Biggles keep fit?

Post by Kismet » Sun Dec 09, 2018 6:19 pm

Biggles doesn't keep fit. He's one of those annoying mortals who have been blessed with an excellent metabolism who can do certain physical things effortlessly without any preparation ( I can think of one or two people I know who seem to have the same gift). He doesn't like physical exertion but that's not quite the same as disliking all forms of exercise: he might not like getting hot and sweaty playing team games or battling the elements at sea, but he doesn't seem to dislike walking too much, which of course, needn't involve much exertion.

I don't think he's a heavy drinker, though. I think he follows the then social rules about drinking: aperitifs and cocktails and a glass of wine with a meal and so on. I can't quite decide if people drank more or less in the past, but they certainly drank differently.
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Re: How on earth does Biggles keep fit?

Post by Tracer » Mon Dec 10, 2018 10:31 am

if you see the size of glasses from those days, they were smaller. So although people seemed to have a glass in their hands a lot more often, they weren't actually drinking a lot in volume. And drunkenness was very much frowned upon.

Quite a few other literary heroes should not be as fit as they are. I often wonder how Jack Reacher manages on a diet of junk food, though he too walks a lot. So did Sherlock Holmes & Watson. Not the junk food, but the walking.
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Re: How on earth does Biggles keep fit?

Post by kylie_koyote » Mon Dec 10, 2018 10:48 am

Holmes had heroin! :lol:
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Re: How on earth does Biggles keep fit?

Post by Fairblue » Mon Dec 10, 2018 11:00 am

I think that to a certain extent, Biggles kept fit by simply not abusing his body, with the exception of heavy smoking. He didn't drink to excess, didn't do drugs, didn't burn the midnight oil (when not on missions) and he used stairs. Although he probably didn't manage his five a day, he ate well for those times but not to excess; he wouldn't have snacked on crisps and sugary snacks during the day. Two digestive biscuits with a cuppa was probably his limit. It was about 1.5 miles to Scotland Yard. I can't see Biggles using a bus or paying for a taxi every day. I think he would have seen it as a waste of money when he had two perfectly good legs to carry him there in about 30 minutes. We know he hates walking, but I think that means he doesn't like walking long distances when other transport is available. Walking to work would be the logical thing to do unless the weather was bad.
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Re: How on earth does Biggles keep fit?

Post by kylie_koyote » Mon Dec 10, 2018 11:15 am

Google Maps tells me it's only 0.6 miles to the RAF club as well, and we know they walked there in "South Seas". They are often walking around when they bump into someone they know and away they go on an adventure!

(My in-laws are like that. They can't walk 10 feet in Madrid without finding someone they know, with handshakes and hugs all around, introducing the kids and grandkids, etc. It's really quite cool.)
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Re: How on earth does Biggles keep fit?

Post by Foolscap » Tue Dec 11, 2018 11:36 pm

I would certainly go along with the notion of Biggles walking as a regular part of his daily routine. Not sure it balances the heavy smoking though:-p
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Re: How on earth does Biggles keep fit?

Post by Fairblue » Tue Dec 11, 2018 11:45 pm

Foolscap wrote:
Tue Dec 11, 2018 11:36 pm
I would certainly go along with the notion of Biggles walking as a regular part of his daily routine. Not sure it balances the heavy smoking though:-p
I would say he would at least be getting some fresh air in his lungs but London had a smog problem until the Clean Air Act of 1956 came into effect. It has been said that 12,000 lives were lost in the Great Smog of 1952.
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Re: How on earth does Biggles keep fit?

Post by Babanango » Wed Dec 12, 2018 6:55 pm

It's funny how fictional "real men" often have a lifestyle that would kill a real man. I recall a study done by a group of doctors in the 1990s who read through all the James Bond novels and catalogued all the physical and psychological traumas he endured, as well as his alcohol and tobacco intake. They diagnosed him as a psychotic with PTSD who should have been dead by 40 from alcoholism and lung cancer. I think a similar study was done of Sherlock Holmes, but can't put my finger on it.

But I can echo the idea that living in London will keep you fit, as it's a good place for walking. I went out one Sunday this past July from my hotel near Marble Arch, walked along Mount Street and kept going, and before I knew it I was at Whitehall. Sometimes it's more trouble to take the Tube than it is to keep on walking where you're going.

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Re: How on earth does Biggles keep fit?

Post by alderaanian » Mon Dec 17, 2018 8:47 am

SopwithCamel wrote:
Sun Dec 09, 2018 11:22 am
Following on a bit from the thread about Biggles' physical strength, how on earth does Biggles stay fit? As far as I can tell, he (and Algy and the others, more or less):

1. Smokes like a chimney
2. Drinks like a fish
3. Has never been seen to do much in the way of exercise
4. Eats a lot of carbs and quite a lot of protein
5. Skips quite a lot of meals due to capture, almost getting killed, and not feeling very hungry
6. Lives by the mottos, "Why run when you're not being chased" and "Why stand when you can sit"
7. Lots of stress
And not forgetting all the tinned food when they're on missions!
As others have said, he didn't drink much after he got over Marie/WW1 though.
And he's just fortunate that his eternal youth as a fictional hero kept him from aging to the point when he'd have gotten chronic obstructive lung disease from all that smoking...

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Re: How on earth does Biggles keep fit?

Post by id_ten_it » Wed Dec 19, 2018 8:08 am

alderaanian wrote:
Mon Dec 17, 2018 8:47 am
And he's just fortunate that his eternal youth as a fictional hero kept him from aging to the point when he'd have gotten chronic obstructive lung disease from all that smoking...
At some stage we have to accept that 70-year-old Biggles is not the same 70 as poor doddery old Mrs Smith from down the road, and rather more like 30-something-year-old soldier boy. :lol:

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Re: How on earth does Biggles keep fit?

Post by Fairblue » Wed Dec 19, 2018 9:50 am

Mr FB is 70 next year and although he can't sprint like Biggles he is far from doddery. His only concession to age has been to have a lighter (but not necessarily slower) motorbike because all his old rugby injuries are catching up with him. 8-)
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Re: How on earth does Biggles keep fit?

Post by id_ten_it » Wed Dec 19, 2018 5:52 pm

Fairblue wrote:
Wed Dec 19, 2018 9:50 am
Mr FB is 70 next year and although he can't sprint like Biggles he is far from doddery. His only concession to age has been to have a lighter (but not necessarily slower) motorbike because all his old rugby injuries are catching up with him. 8-)
I tip my hat at him!

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Re: How on earth does Biggles keep fit?

Post by Frecks » Wed Dec 19, 2018 7:09 pm

Mr. Frecks is 71 and he is certainly slowing down quite dramatically now. Some people seem really old at 70 and others are fit and active at 80. I think Biggles would have kept his youthful figure and strong constitution until he was quite old.

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Re: How on earth does Biggles keep fit?

Post by RAAF Spitfire Girl » Fri Dec 21, 2018 4:19 pm

Mr RSG and I have hit the magic seven-oh. We walked the length of Hadrian’s Wall last year and continue keeping our fitness up by walking. Not interested in slowing down - places to be, people to see, Lol. He’s riding his motorbike more than ever and walks every day. And is also campaigning for a bigger bike!! But until I get my Spitfire, I ignore all such hints.

However, we’ve never smoked. Like Biggles we enjoy the odd social drink.

So, I think the eternally youthful-ish Biggles’ action focused lifestyle kept both his body and his mind very fit. :smoking2: :flighter: :bubbles: :cheers1:

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Re: How on earth does Biggles keep fit?

Post by Simon Templar » Fri Dec 21, 2018 11:40 pm

There's a factor that no one's really touched on yet: the human body is actually quite good at regulating itself. You need the unholy alliance of both not exercising at all AND stuffing your face with saturated rubbish to really take a toll on your body. I barely exercised for my last year of university, but because I ate decently I didn't get fat.

Sure, Biggles would have smoked and wouldn't have got that much exercise per se, but in the days before fast food and delivery pizza, that wouldn't have mattered that much. Yeah, there obviously were fat people, but it was a lot harder to get fat. He certainly wouldn't have had a six pack, but I doubt he would have been fat either. He would probably have a "dad bod" honestly - not overweight, but certainly not an Adonis of a man either.

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Re: How on earth does Biggles keep fit?

Post by Fairblue » Fri Dec 21, 2018 11:44 pm

Yes,as I said earlier. Not so much what he did do to his body as what he didn't do.
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Re: How on earth does Biggles keep fit?

Post by Tracer » Sat Dec 22, 2018 10:50 am

I think it's exercise that does the damage! Having taken part in high-risk sports for most of my life, I am arthritic, battered, asymmetrical and have to be respectful of my various old injuries or else they bite me. My sister, who has never done anything since her 20s, is 79 and in much better condition. However, she does not drive, so does a lot of walking, some of it while carrying heavy shopping.
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Re: How on earth does Biggles keep fit?

Post by Kismet » Sat Dec 22, 2018 11:58 am

I would agree, to a certain extent, Tracer. It's the runners who now need new knees, and as for the rugby players! However, some people seem to be lucky. Lionel Blair, for example, is still dancing at 90 and only gave up smoking aged 88!
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Re: How on earth does Biggles keep fit?

Post by Tracer » Sun Dec 23, 2018 11:11 am

Yes: good genes trump everything else, I'm sure. As my health practitioner says, we live as long as our parents lived, and we die of the things they died of. Unless war or the proverbial no. 7 bus gets in the way of course.
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Re: How on earth does Biggles keep fit?

Post by Foolscap » Sun Dec 23, 2018 4:30 pm

I don't suppose there is a portrait of an exceedingly unhealthy looking Biggles in the attic?
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Re: How on earth does Biggles keep fit?

Post by Tracer » Mon Dec 24, 2018 10:30 am

:lol: Deep, Foolscap, very deep!
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Re: How on earth does Biggles keep fit?

Post by Frecks » Mon Dec 24, 2018 2:24 pm

I think a lot of people live longer than their parents now as life expectancy has improved over the generations. Some seropis illnesses seem to strike normally healthy people and people who overeat and take very little exercise can feel quite healthy. I do not think there is any sure way of staying fit into old age although I should imagine chain smoking for fifty years or so and taking very little exercise would be bad for most people.

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