A Special Report is content that is edited and produced by the Special Reports unit within The Irish Times Content Studio. It is supported by advertisers who may contribute to the report, but who do not have editorial control.

Gyms to suit all ages and stages of life

Gyms aren’t just for the young and fit – people of all ages are reaping the physical and mental benefits of a good workout

With people becoming more health conscious, gyms are now busy with members of all ages. Photograph: iStock

With people becoming more health conscious, gyms are now busy with members of all ages. Photograph: iStock


With people becoming more health conscious, gyms are now busy with members of all ages and stages of life.

Peter Cullen (74) is a member of Gym Plus in Rathfarnham, Dublin. “I never joined a gym until I was 65,” he explains. “I wanted to learn how to swim but after I got the hang of the pool here, I decided to go for the whole gym package. Now they can’t get me out of the place. I go every second day without fail. I do a 45-minute workout with a class of 25 people. I might do the spinning bike class and then go for a swim.”  

Cullen was a bus driver for 43 years. “I sat down most of the time,” he laughs. “The gym is a great outlet when you retire. The attention I get is amazing and I meet up with all sorts of people.”

Sandra Dunne is operations manager at Gym Plus. “As a member here you’re on a unique fitness journey and we’re there to support everyone,” she says. “When you join you receive a one-to-one session with a trainer to develop a programme to match your age, physical condition and personal goals. Then we follow up with frequent reviews to keep the results coming in.”

Monica Crossan (50) is also passionate about exercise and the positive mental attitude she gets from exercising. “You will never regret a good run or an invigorating workout,” she says. Crossan and her daughter Elaine attend Gym Plus together as they motivate each other. “I started out with a personal training session and discovered other key routines with weights and resistance training,” says Elaine. “I find it great for hockey too. I am going into Leaving Cert year and I know that my concentration improves massively with the gym so for that reason I will be keeping it up.”

Kevin Forde is a senior coach at Educogym on Baggot Street, Dublin. This string of gyms has won global awards and focuses on getting a person’s body, mind and life goals into shape.

‘Personal and physical goals’

“Educogym started up in 2007. We sit down with our clients and discuss their personal and physical goals. As they get fitter they start attaining work success and achieve rewards in personal life too. Some members come for weight-loss reasons or they may have a wedding coming up. We focus on tailored 20-minute sessions and with the proper nutrition regime our clients can lose over seven pounds in 12 days. Most of our gym work is on resistance training and it’s quality and not quantity.”

John Long, one of his clients, lost 49lbs in just four months.

“I actually look forward to going to the gym now and it is not because they take it easy on me which is certainly not the case,” he says. “Not only have I achieved my initial goal of losing weight, it has also helped me increase my level of fitness. The focus on nutrition has also been of benefit as I am trying out tasty new recipes in the kitchen.”

Paula Lynch is a gym trainer at Cork’s Gym Plus outlet and she got into the whole coaching scene when she encouraged her dad, Bernard Lynch, to lose 8st when he was 70.

“He went from someone feeling unable to walk a few steps to a very energetic runner on the treadmill. He is now a fan of the gym and is really looking better than ever. I think there is a great team spirit in our Cork branch and we do an individual assessment with each member and an updated review every six weeks. The fee is about the price of a couple of unhealthy takeaways, so it really is worth the investment!”

Contact : www.educogym.com; www.gymplus.ie