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Planning Retirement Online

Joining A Gym Over 50 - not as scary as you might think!

                                    May 2010  

Sally Smith

I joined a gym!

By Laterlife features editor Sally Smith

 Since I joined the Nuffield Health, Fitness and Wellbeing Centre two months ago my life has totally changed. Suddenly, making time to ensure I get down to the gym and continue with my programme has become a very important part of my week. I am changing meetings and altering normal plans to make sure I don’t miss my regular fix of exercise and this surprises me more than I can say. I thought an early problem would be a loss of enthusiasm but that hasn’t happened yet!

trainerOne thing I noticed is a slight change in my arms. Yes I have lost a little weight but I have been a bit slack on my diet plan (especially the alcohol!), so weight loss hasn’t been as good as it could have been. But in my general fitness, without doubt things are changing. The top of my arms, which used to have muscles the size of flabby walnuts, seem to have become slightly thinner at the shoulders but with definitely a little more firmness in the muscle area.

It really is incredibly exciting. I had been worried about having no strength whatsoever and this was brought home to me a few weeks ago when I was unable to lift my small weekend case up onto the overhead rack.

So when I joined my local Nuffield Health, Fitness and Wellbeing Centre, I explained that one of my aims was to gain some strength in my arms, and so my programme included specific exercises for this.

gym equipmentWhen I say exercise, that really is the wrong word and gives such an inaccurate impression. What I do is use three different pieces of high tech equipment and some weights which each exercise different muscles in the upper body. With one of them, I sit down and push handles forward with each arm. This lifts weights behind me which I can’t feel but I know they are heavy from the push I have to give! I actually quite enjoy it, seeing if I can reach the target (currently 12 to 15 pushes) without too much strain. I also like the exercise because it involves sitting down and gives me a good opportunity to watch others in the gym. My goodness, I can’t believe how some people can run so fast on the running machines and never even get red in the face. I clearly have a very long way to go!

The other pieces of equipment are similar but one is a pulling machine and one I pull down and out on a rope until my arms are at full stretch. All the equipment is so shiny and fun to use that none of it seems like exercise.

I was dubious about the actual weights – a pair of dumbbells I was given. I had to lift them from shoulder heightto above my head and then down again. But my patient instructor positioned me in front of one of the enormous mirrors and showed me the technique, and while it was repetitive, it wasn’t boring and at the moment I am sticking with it.

suitcaseThe only downside is that with these exercises, I don’t get to sit in front of the big televisions; but I can catch up on the latest news or sports when I move onto the cycle machine. And it is terrific to know that, even after just a short time, it should be easier to lift that case onto the rack next time I go away.




With spring well on its way, there has never been a better time to get healthy and recharge your batteries. But it can be a bit daunting to know where to start.

Nuffield Health Fitness & Wellbeing Centres, formerly Cannons Health Clubs, are offering Laterlife readers a free two day pass so you can visit your local centre and find out what it has to offer - a combination of great fitness facilities, professional health services and highly qualified staff to help you every step of the way.

If you decided to join, Nuffield Health won’t just take your membership fee and leave you to your own devices; instead they give all their members a mass of personal support and free and regular Health MOTs to make sure you are on the right track.

If your health improves, then they will reward you with a free month’s membership or a personal training session*. They really are keen to help everyone – even people our age – to get fitter and healthier.

You can find out more on

If you would like to take up the offer simply print the attached voucher, fill in your details and contact your local Nuffield Health Centre, to be given your free two day pass.

* Subject to Terms and Conditions

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