Humans are destined to age and then pass away. Nevertheless, life smiles on some who find the key to being healthy even at an advanced age.
Rajshahi's AKM Matlubul Hoq Tipu is one such individual. Age may have turned his hair and beard white, but the father of two adult sons boasts a fit, muscled body.
“I'm 71 and healthier than many of my age,” the retired government official says.
He has been bodybuilding for the last 56 years, barely missing a day, and his exemplary health has inspired many.
Matlubul achieved accolades in bodybuilding competitions and coached at several gyms. Eventually, he set up his own gym at his house in the city's Kajihata area in 2000. His sons later revamped it and named it “Muscle Care Gym”.
Sitting at the gym, Matlubul told The Daily Star that staying healthy is not the only reason he works out.
“I also teach exercises to all my students,” he said.
Inspired by his sportsman father, Matlubul developed a strong interest in fitness in his childhood. During class nine at Loknath School in 1963, he became friends with classmate Moklesur Rahman. Moklesur's physical fitness impressed him.
“I wanted to have a body like his,” he said. Moklesur took him to a gym where he started working out.
By the end of his college life in 1970, he won medals in short put, discus throw and hammer throw -- all games of strength.
In 1971, he took firearms training and spied for the freedom fighters.
After obtaining his BSc degree, he pursued a career at Rajshahi Education Board in 1974. After serving 25 years, he retired from his post of deputy comptroller in 1999.
He never quit exercising though, and won the fifth spot at the “Mr Bangladesh” competition in 1989.
His strength has decreased with age, but he can still use most of the gym equipment, he said. “When I was younger I could bend iron rods with my neck.”
Besides bodybuilding, he plays the flute and composes songs. Matlubul is proud of students like Abdul Ahad Shimul who is a multiple “Mr Bangladesh” title holder.
“In bodybuilding, a significant aspect is one's character,” he says. “No one can sustain growth without a disciplined life. A healthy diet, enough sleep, and proper utilisation of time are important.”
Matlubul says he has dedicated his life to inspiring the youngsters to stay fit and shape a healthy society.