For around 30 years, Medibank members Federico and Carla have begun their day with a brisk morning walk. Out the door at five to seven, they pick up friends along the way and spend an hour exercising, catching up and easing into the morning at their local reserve, Birrarung Park.
“We meet people, we talk, we laugh – we’ve always got company, a few friends around,” shares Carla.
Their morning walk is a lifestyle choice adopted after Carla was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and encouraged to exercise daily. It’s certainly one that has paid off with Carla, now aged 78, no longer requiring medication for her diabetes.
“I feel much better because when we started I had to take medication for diabetes two times a day. But now, I take none. And I’m proud of myself,” says Carla.
After about 5kms around Birrarung Park’s walking track, the couple heads back, sending off friends as they pass by their homes and reaching their own just after 8am.
“You come home and you feel happy, you have a little coffee and start working in the garden,” says Federico.
At 84 years old, Federico is as busy as ever with a thriving veggie patch, grandkids to pick up, fire wood to stack and wine to make (and drink!). His and Carla’s lifestyle still echoes their village upbringing in central Italy, shaped by seasons, rituals and routine. While this way of living originated out of necessity, what it represents in Australia is familiarity, comfort and an awareness of the earth and what it can provide.
From broadbeans in spring and ripe tomatoes in summer, to days spent making tomato sauce and bottling home-made wine, their lifestyle is both old fashioned and, at the moment, on trend, and serves as a great reminder of the enduring benefits of enjoying what’s fresh, seasonal and local.
Joking that their walking group is on the decline as their friends start retiring from it, this active couple and their energetic dog Tiger may need to hunt out some younger members to keep pace with.