Over-50s fitness class works out to soul and Beatles classics

A SENIOR fitness class in Bolton is helping people over the age of 50 enjoy a new lease of life – with a little help from their musical friends.

Fitness expert Chris Bramah originally started the class 18 months ago at Trinity Methodist Church in Tonge Fold.

“At church, I’d noticed this group of ladies and just thought how much they’d benefit from a class specially tailored for older people. So I researched it and then started the class,” explained the 30-year-old who is a Level 3 qualified personal trainer and nutritionist.

He moved the class to Markland Hill Racquets Club in Heaton last October and now has a regular group going to the Victoria Road sports club each Friday morning for popular hour-long sessions.

Chris said: “It’s very satisfying to see them doing so well, and enjoying themselves. Some of the members, like Sylvia who’s 80 and had trouble walking, are just so much better now. I try to make it fun, too – we always have music on, soul or The Beatles, and everyone has a dance.”

Attendees do a variety of exercises, but always within their own capabilities.

“I would not give this group something like burpees (jumping up from the squat position) but they can do push-ups in different ways, squats and movements like that, “added Chris. “Taking exercise is as important, if not more important, as we get older. It helps with balance and preventing falls, with mobility, and with general wellbeing. Exercise also helps the brain stay active and can prevent memory loss and cognitive decline.”

And the members of the class are already finding the benefit from the specialist classes.

Graham Gough, a 67-year-old semi-retired university lecturer and his partner Julie Bramwell, aged 61, a retired nurse, started going to the classes when they began at Markland Hill. They like Chris’s approach so much that they have been having separate training sessions with him.

“It’s a very welcoming group,” said Graham. “The exercises are as demanding as you want them to be, the atmosphere is very social, and the whole experience is fun.”

Julie agreed, saying: “We do enjoy the classes but we’re also much fitter and, because Chris can help us with nutrition and diet, we’ve also lost weight. I’ve lost just over a stone and Graham has lost over two stone. We’re both more agile and we feel well.”