Later-life laughs and exercise

Diabetes and osteoporosis prompted Lesley Chrysanthou and Ann Anderson, two retired teachers, to start exercising regularly several years ago. Their resolve to get fitter has since evolved into a regular gathering for senior exercise now in its 12th year. 

West Haringey Seniors Exercise takes place in the gym at Hornsey Vale Community Centre each Tuesday at 2.15pm. For only £3.50 a class, participants are taken through a circuit of activities, from cardio to flexibility and strength training, by trainer Jeff Hurrell, who specialises in later life training. 

West Haringey Seniors Exercise is a non-profit making community organisation sponsored by a local business, Planet International. All proceeds go towards covering Jeff’s fee and class equipment.

The class is open to anyone with no age limits—current attendees range from 60 to 90 years old—although there is a strict ban on lycra, Lesley laughs. “We’re very friendly, very relaxed, people do enjoy it, and we go and socialise afterwards,” she says.

She credits the class, together with regular private sessions with Jeff, for helping her recover quickly from a recent heart attack. The doctors said, “You must have a strong heart, and you’re fit—that’s why you bounced back so quickly.” Ann is now able to move about easily without her old stiffness and pain and makes sure she walks at least two miles every day.

Over the years people have joined and left the class but a core group has remained. Participants can sit out some of the exercises or use alternatives as they see fit. Lesley says she can see the benefits of the class for regulars. “We used to walk around after loosening up. Now people sprint and jog.”

Want to know more? Contact Lesley on 07967 089 078 or Ann on 020 8340 8335.


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