Lively workouts at old-school fitness class


Seven days into the New Year and people are taking on new healthy lifestyle challenges, but figures show fewer Kiwis are keeping fit after they retire.

But one group of seniors on Auckland's North Shore say it's never too late to get fit.

They like to start the day with a lively workout – it's good for flexibility and balance, keeps their bodies moving and their minds active too.

"It's so good from the neck down, there's all those muscles, and from the neck up there's a lot of other muscles to take care of too," says Jim Clegg, 93.

Instructor Rachel Cheal says you're never too old, but there are a few things to bear in mind.

"It's just being careful with the joints and making sure they're aware they can have a break at any stage if they need to," she says.

"Particularly this class, it's a heart class, a lot of the members have had heart conditions in the past so they're just trying to keep those tickers working."

Figures show our physical activity drops off significantly in our later years. Three-quarters of us take part in weekly sport or recreation until we reach our 70s, then it falls below 60 percent.

But age hasn't stopped 78-year-old Brian Duffy, who weight trains to maintain muscle tone and bone density.

"It's never too late [to start something new], I mean I've got muscles I never knew I had," he says. "I just feel good after a workout. It's nice to use your body and stretch."

But the group isn't just about exercise – it's also about the social impact. It's about meeting up with friends and they often do day-outings.

They go by the old adage of "use it or lose it".

"You just need to keep strong even for posture, to stand upright," says Jane White, the owner of Beachside Health and Fitness. "You need to do the best you can, but I honestly believe don't ever give up. Do not give up exercising, ever."

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