How our Older Adults programme is making an impact

The programme started at Central YMCA over 20 years ago and now helps more than 900 people over the age of 60 to get healthy, active and socialise together

We’re proud that our Older Adults programme offers people over the age of 60 the opportunity to improve their physical and mental health while combatting feelings of isolation or loneliness and maintaining independent living. During lockdown the programme has been a lifeline for many of our members, who have all eagerly returned. 

Peter: "The exercise classes are brilliant!"

The programme includes 19 functional movement classes which run on a weekly basis and are specifically designed to help increase flexibility, stability and bone density. Classes include Zumba, Yoga, Tai Chi, Flamenco Dance, Swimming, Acquacise, Strength & Conditioning and Cardio.

Peter, who has been coming to the YMCA Club for over 10 years says:

"It's a fantastic place. I look forward to coming every single time. The exercise classes are brilliant. I just can't praise it highly enough."

Trish: "If you want to meet people and enjoy life, this is the one place you can do it."

The social aspect of our programme is also very important for this age group so we offer 3 weekly social events, enabling members to catch up and broaden their friendship circles – as well as the option of regular subsidised day and weekend trips away.

Trish, who has been a member for 12 years says:

"The first time I came in I was a bit nervous but they were so welcoming. The staff, everybody. Any class I wanted, they give you all the advice and I would recommend it to anybody. They are the top, they are caring people, everyone is friendly, nobody is left out. I love all the classes and come 3 to 4 times a week. If you want to meet people and just go and enjoy life, this is the one place you can do it."

Lynn: "It's the most inclusive gym that I've ever experienced in my whole gym life."

We are grateful to receive fantastic support from a number of volunteers, some of whom have been working with us for over 20 years. Lynn, trained to be a Personal Trainer with YMCAfit 15 years ago at the age of 65 and has been a volunteer ever since, teaching many classes such as Zumba, strength and conditioning and cardio:

"I thoroughly enjoy it and I'm overhwelmed by the amount of activities that there are here for the older adults. It's the most inclusive gym I have ever experienced in my whole gym life. Come along and join or have a look and see whether you want to swim, have a cup of tea and a chat or if you want to get down into the gym and have some execise. You won't be disappointed."

Lynn S: "During the pandemic we had absolutely wonderful YouTube videos."

During the Covid-19 pandemic people over the age of 60 were particularly effected, whether it be by the virus itself or by isolation. Throughout the lockdown, our Older Adults team was dedicated to bringing health and fitness to people's homes through a number of exercise videos on YouTube. The team went above and beyond to get our members connected and make sure that they were coming onto our classes and made a series of phonecalls each week to check on those living alone. Our YouTube videos had a great impact and reached a wide audience, having been watched across 3 continents and with the most popular reaching over 67,000 views and comments such as :

"WONDERFUL!!! I'm in NYC, 75 years old, and loving this! Thank you!" and "Wow - I am morbidly obese and have now done this 5 days in a row!!".

Lynn, one of our members who has been coming to the YMCA Club for over 30 years, watched our YouTube exercise videos said: 

"The YMCA is a refuge, but during the pandemic it was tricky. But we had absolutely wonderful YouTube videos and I Zumba'ed my way around my bedroom, down the stairs and up again and I don't know what I would have done. Being able to tune into the YMCA was great fun and to see Declan was really encouraging and helped me keep going. I had a nasty accident and Declan was on the phone checking I was alright, which was great. It kept contact up the whole time and the minute we could come back we rushed."

“I think it’s really important, especially in the later stages in life, that people are still building new friendships and connecting.”
Declan Duncan, Community Programmes Manager

YMCA Club now has over 900 members over the age of 60  with the Older Adults programme providing an ideal space to improve your wellbeing and forge meaningful friendships in the process.

Declan Duncan, Community Programmes Manager at YMCA Club, said: “Members often initially join to use the pool or the gym, but they are also able to meet new people and crucially learn new ways to improve their health and wellbeing. Since I started in this role ten years ago, it’s been gratifying to see new friendships being forged and members’ confidence improving through our social events.

“I think it’s really important, especially in the later stages in life, that people are still building new friendships and connecting. That’s why I’m so proud that this programme is able to bring together the mind, body and spirit which encompasses YMCA Club and the charity as a whole.” 

Our members can also broaden their cultural and intellectual horizons by taking part in weekends away (recent destinations include Hayling Island), or joining one of our free, informative history walks through the City of London.