Choosing a gym in your 50s

Exercising at any age is beneficial but remaining fit and active over 50 is essential to keep your body in good shape and maintain a healthy lifestyle. More people over 50 are realising the importance of keeping fit and active and this has been reflected in the increase in people over 50 joining the gym.

Exercise Class

There are many benefits associated with attending the gym and carrying out the right exercises for your age such as:

  • Enhanced mobility and muscle strength
  • Improved sleep
  • Prevention and/or delay of disease
  • Greater sense of wellbeing
  • Social engagement

Finding the perfect gym for you

Consider the following points when looking for a gym to suit your needs and don’t forget to ask some of your own questions too.

What is the cost of the gym?

Many gyms acknowledge the fact that the over 50s are passionate about keeping fit and active as they age, and you can often find tailored memberships specific to those over 50 too.

Total Fitness offer a reduced-price membership for those over 65 in order to encourage them to improve their health. They are aware of the numerous reasons people are drawn to the gym including social aspects, losing weight and keeping active.

 Top Tip: It’s a good idea to see if the gym you are considering offers trial memberships. Alternatively, take out a short membership to begin allowing you to decide if that gym is right for you without being tied down into a long-term contract.

Size or capacity of the facility

If you are looking for something a little quieter you may want to ask about how many members they have or their peak times. You would not want to purchase a membership to find out that you struggle to book on to classes or access equipment due to its size or capacity.

Does the gym cater for your personal preferences?

Some women may prefer to exercise with other women and older gym goers may prefer to be in the company of others their age rather than younger members.

Gymophobics is a women’s only gym that works with women of all ages. A friendly and fun environment, Gymophobics facilities and staff ensure you receive VIP attention. Likewise, Total Fitness offer a ‘ladies only’ area.

Does your chosen gym have the right classes?

It’s important to investigate the range of classes available. Do the classes on offer suit your abilities? Many gyms offer intense exercise classes that push individuals to the maximum but also offer low impact classes for beginners. Tailored memberships are a great option as you can be assured that they will be of the right intensity in order to avoid injury.

The following classes can offer lower intensity exercise and potentially cause less stress on your joints, tendons and ligaments so keep an eye out for these types of exercise classes when finding a gym:

  • Aqua Classes
  • Zumba
  • Yoga
  • Pilates

If you have any pre-existing health conditions, it is vital you speak to the gym or your instructor to ensure that the exercises are right for your needs.

Does the gym have the right equipment for you?

In our previous post ‘Why is exercise so important for the over 50s’, we spoke to personal trainer for the over 50s, Chris Zaremba. He advised that those over 50 should start with the resistance machines to ease themselves into exercising and to avoid injury. Chris also stressed the importance of form and only moving the right body parts for each exercise.

Man Working Out

You may find that different gyms have specialist or advanced equipment such as Gymophobics. They have unique AIR machines that are designed to ‘take the work out of a workout’ by using pneumatic resistance, reducing high-shock impact and protecting you from injury.

Has the gym got additional facilities?

Consider what additional facilities you would like, whether that’s something as simple as the cleanliness of changing rooms or something more lavish and relaxing like a sauna or massage facility.

For those who want to join the gym for the social element of exercising, does the leisure facility have a café or somewhere you can go for a coffee and a catchup?

Personal training options

It’s important that the exercise carried out isn’t too strenuous in order to protect muscles and joints. If you are unsure about the appropriate exercises you should do, having access to a personal trainer can be useful. With their support, you can receive a tailored exercise plan that caters to your needs and capabilities.

Stephen Combe, Club Manager of Snap Fitness, Darlington, commented on the great benefits seen from having a personal trainer: “We have many members over 50, regularly having PT sessions or attending group classes. Bespoke training is essential to minimise the risk of injury and maximise the experience. We make sure to tailor each session so it is suitable for the members. We pride ourselves on being able to cater to everyone, no matter their age or fitness ability. Our expert personal trainers work closely with the members to ensure they are healthy, happy and improving their fitness every session.”

In July 2019 David Lloyd revealed their plans to employ at least one personal trainer over the age of 55 in each of their clubs in order to cater for the over 50s. Currently, the over 50s make up 18% of their total members, with hope for this number to grow.

Exercise isn’t subjective to age and it’s promising to see that more people are realising the importance of keeping fit and healthy. Ensure you carry out enough research to find the perfect gym for you. To ensure you to feel completely comfortable when exercising, why not read our article on gym wear for the over 50s.