New gym helps elderly keep fit

The elderly and disabled are among new members flexing their muscles at a gym which takes the strain out of getting fit.

The elderly and disabled are among new members flexing their muscles at a gym which takes the strain out of getting fit.

Power-assisted exercise machines are also claiming to help clients who are rehabilitating from surgery or have little mobility to strengthen muscles and tone.

The gadgets are designed to do the work for members who sit and wait for results while the machine automatically moves their limbs.

Management in the Bodycare Wellness Centre in Swords, north Co Dublin, dispute the workouts are the lazy way of exercising, but are vital to improving health and fitness.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) sufferer Siobhan Flynn is barely mobile but maintains her balance has improved and that she can stand and walk for longer in the two weeks since joining the centre.

The mother-of-two, who has had the condition for 11 years, said her motive for joining was to keep her muscles moving to build up their strength.

“Otherwise they will waste away,” said the 43-year-old wheelchair user.

“I’m so restricted in what exercise so something that is power operated is ideal. I don’t need to use any strength.

“It won’t cure the disease but it might keep it at bay so it won’t progress any further.”

Manager Aoife Lockhart said clients range from 18 to 73 years and include men and women who want to lose weight, tone and work on their muscles and strength.

“We have people who are morbidly obese, who are not capable of going to a gym where they have to do all the work,” she said.

“Young people who want to tone to the elderly who want to keep their joints active.

“But we also have clients with disabilities, and some who have had hip replacements who want to build up their muscles.

“They are all trying to increase their fitness level while the machines do the work for them.

“But you can put as much resistance in to the programme as it’s working. It can be a combination of the machine and your effort.”

Grandmother-of-four Patricia Timoney has osteoarthritis in her hands and feet and has lost 10lbs at the centre.

“I came to loose weight and get fit because I can’t lift weights in a gym,” added the 58-year-old.

“Before I joined I couldn’t close my fist, but now I can.

“It has definitely loosened my joints.”

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