NURSE and cancer survivor, Mary Lennon (right), has been strength training with personal trainer Jonny Bruton ofSMARTTrainingGymforthe last two years. She is in her early sixties.
“About two years ago I was talking to a nutritionist and I realised that I needed to commit to some regular exercise that would increase my muscle strength.
“I was conscious that as you get older you lose a lot of muscle and the body fat increases so I went along to SMART Training Gym in Churchtown, Dublin, and had an interview with Jonny. I thought I’d give it a shot for three months or so. I’ve been there for two years.
“We do strength training — developing the muscles of the upper and lower body —withalittlebitof cardio. I use weights, but we started slowly, gradually moving up with an increasingly challenging programme.
“My technique is monitored and corrected and I haven’t had an injury since I started. Because you lose muscle as you get older, it’s really important to counteract that by doing strength training exercise. And you can improve at any age — no matter what your baseline is.
“I had cancer some years ago, andI’maware that as you get older you begin to lose tone and balance, and you start to get curves in your spine.
“I’ve had long-term back issues and I used to have aches and pains a lot.
“Now I feel stronger and more energetic and if I miss a session, I start to feel sluggish after a few days.
“I wasn’t very overweight so that wasn’t a major issue for me. But I sleep better now, and my balance and flexibility has increased as well.
“My children are grown up and I just need to keep myself as well as possible for as long as possible. More and more older people are becoming aware of the fact that they still have another 30 years or so of living to do so they want to keep as fit and strong as they can. I’m pushing back the years, in a way.”