An author from Alexandria is hoping his new book will help more people get back in shape later in life – while also getting a few laughs along the way.
Paul Murdoch’s Old Bloke Goes Swimming is the sequel to Old Bloke Goes Running, which chronicles Paul’s adventures as he strived to be healthier after celebrating his 57th birthday “somewhere between fat and obese”.
An injury forced Paul to hang up his sneakers for more than six months, but prompted him to take up swimming – and write his latest book.
Paul, 60, explained: “After Old Bloke Goes Running I started doing a podcast called Old Bloke Goes… and then everything I did.
“I seemed to have a good reaction and a bit of following on the podcast. But when Covid hit last year, the old dude couldn’t go anywhere.
“I continued to run. But I fell on a local hill where I injured my Achilles tendon. This meant that I couldn’t really run for about six months. Even now things are not perfect and we are almost a year later.
“That’s when I decided to take an interest in swimming. It was a less impactful way to exercise.
“I was piling on the pounds. I ate like an athlete – but I didn’t do any work to justify it.
The work explores Paul’s first steps in a swimming pool with his childhood friend Andrew and “his famous father”, Dumbarton FC record scorer Hugh Gallacher.
It also explores the stigma around “parakeet smugglers” and covers a dramatic escape of a hammerhead shark on a pedal boat. And Paul thinks his work is sure to elicit a few laughs.
He continued, “It’s a fairly simple little book, just like the first one, but it elicits more reactions than some of my novels – which have taken years to be written.
“It’s a funny situation for an author.
“It’s a very ironic thing, but people seem to like them.
“It’s a fun look at exercise.
“If you look at me, I’m not exactly Mr. Athlete. I’m just a normal guy trying to get in shape and cut down on things that I shouldn’t be eating or drinking as best I can given my age and proportions.
“It should appeal to ordinary people.
“I don’t think this is a book that athletes are going to buy. Even if some have laughed about it!
“It’s a fun look at the silly things that happen when you swim. It seems to make people laugh every now and then, but at the same time, they’re getting tips that will hopefully help their fitness. “
And Paul was quick to praise the benefits of swimming.
He added: “I have always loved swimming. It’s a great way to relax, to clear your head.
“Exercising, whatever it is, is good for this, but swimming without a helmet is certainly relaxing enough. It’s almost like meditation.
“My absolute ideal swim would be outside, in a warm place. I tried swimming outside here, but it’s not the same when it’s seven degrees!
Old Bloke Goes Swimming is available at paulmurdoch.co.uk and will be available in bookstores later this month for £ 7.99.