E K Sankaran Nair (Middle) along with other participants in the Seniors Meet recently held in Kochi. Image : Special Arrangement
Running four to five kilometres every day to stay fit at the age of 84 is a routine for E K Sankaran Nair of Mala in Kerala. What’s more, he has been doing it for the last 43 years despite being diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis, a chronic autoimmune condition that causes muscle weakness at the age of 35. One litre of milk and a few grams of almonds, along with a handful of dates every day, are the healthy recipes that keep Sankaran Nair strong and fit to be a competitive runner.
It was at the age of 35 that Sankaran Nair was diagnosed with Myasthenia gravis (MG), a chronic autoimmune disorder in which antibodies destroy the communication between nerves and muscle, resulting in weakness of the skeletal muscles. “It took a while for the doctors to figure out what my condition was. I’ve been taking medication for it ever since, and it’s my only health problem so far,” he said.
Though Sankaran Nair began his running career at an early age, competing in various sports and winning several medals, he never wanted to leave his passion for running even after he was diagnosed with Myasthenia gravis (MG). His medical condition didn’t deter him from running.
It’s his daily routine of running that makes him so strong and energetic at this old age. Sankaran begins his day by getting up at 3 am. He drinks low-fat milk tea and eats either a banana or an egg. He then jogs for 1 to 1.5 hours before practicing Yoga, which he also instructs to some of his students. Between 7:30 and 8:30 am, he has his breakfast, which is generally home-cooked food like dosa, puttu, or idli.
“I don’t fill my stomach to the brim. I will eat on time and only as much as is necessary,” he told “Open Digest“. He regularly drinks one liter of milk, along with some almonds and dates. Another important part of his diet is that he consumes three to four liters of water every day without fail. “I have my lunch between 12:30 and 1:00 pm, and dinner by 7 pm. After my dinner, I won’t eat anything and I go to bed by 7:30 pm,” he said. Sankaran wants to run in the 95 plus age category from Kerala in the seniors’ competition to set a new record as no one has achieved that feat.