Irish Independent - Health & Living - - COVER STORY -

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.”


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