HONOLULU (KHON2) — In January 2021, a 101-year-old man celebrated his birthday at 24 Hour Fitness, where he works out almost every day. He also celebrated his 102nd birthday at the same gym.

However, for this Salt Lake resident, it is just another day. James Chou said going to the gym is part of his daily routine, which started almost 30 years ago.

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“Diabetic, overweight, then I exercise I feel much better,” said Chou.

Chou is from China and served in the Chinese Air Force during WWII. He arrived in Honolulu in 1956 and became a mechanical engineering professor at the University of Hawaii. He later retired at 68-years-old and joined 24 Hour Fitness Pearl City.

Before he hits the gym, Chou does a mini workout at home. He takes the time to stretch, jump on a machine, lift weights and do tai chi.

“I keep my weight constant, about 114 pounds. Too high, eat less. Too low, oh no,” Chou explained.

To exercise his mind, Chou also plays solitaire every day. Additionally, up until he turned 100-years-old, he did his own taxes.

“Money management. Just like keep your body constant, how much money come in, don’t waste money.”


While mental and physical health are both important, Chou believes having a good heart has also helped him live a long life.

“To be nice to people. Action, reaction. If I’m nice to you, you’re nice to me,” he said.

Chou still lives in his own home that he designed many decades ago. His son and daughter-in-law only recently moved in to keep an eye on him. KHON2 asked him about what type of advice he gives others who want to live more than a century. Chou said people should be open-minded, humble, as well as have concentration and perseverance.

“Gotta learn from people, you gotta be open minded. If you say, ‘you junk,’ you don’t know. You gotta learn from them… Don’t think about something. Just study the subject, then you’ll do much better… Keep going.”

James Chou, a 102-year-old who goes to the gym almost every day

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Chou also added that luck does not hurt either.

“Very fortunate. Good Lord take care of me. I’m just lucky,” he said.