The power of exercising in groups… At ANY age…
Exercising in groups brings more than the physical benefits… Kay Mac Kenzie conducts classes for the older age groups that transform on many levels… Hear what is possible when you take the step…
Tricia met Kay many years ago in Lycra! They were both competitors in Sport Aerobics, Kay winning at both State and National level from 1985-88.
Kay has gone on to further develop her group fitness skills, working with a broad range of clients including the older age group… many with chronic and other conditions. Her compassion, quality teaching skills and great sense of humour, brings a magical formula that has her participants coming back for more! Kay has inspired and supported thousands to embrace an active lifestyle at all stages of life. Kay is also the proud S.A. Network Ambassador for the fitness industry.
Thanks Kay for sharing what you do.
|Your Name||Kay Mac Kenzie|
|City of Residence||Adelaide, South Australia|
|Occupation or Experience||Group Fitness Instructor|
|Your Passions/Interests||Group fitness|
|A Favourite Quote||Sometimes you never know the true value of a moment until it becomes a memory.|
|A personal message / inspiration||Be true to yourself, Don’t sweat the small stuff, Be positive, Don’t worry, and be kind.|
When did you start your own journey with exercise and where has that led you?
I started at 3 years of age with calisthenics, competed in State teams, then taught for 11 years.
I was always interested in exercise and sport and I played tennis, squash, volleyball, basketball and softball.
This interest led me to work in gyms/health clubs as an instructor, Fitness Director and Director.
I have always enjoy dancing, mainly Jazz Ballet, also ballroom, and this has influenced the style of aerobics I teach.
This has also led me to become a lecturer, presenter and train others and mentor students.
You now conduct classes for the older population… tell us more about the clients that attend and what you see as the key to their ongoing commitment and attendance…
This is really a two part answer for me;
(a) I have been teaching a group of “mature ladies” at a gym for over 30 years, and they are very fit, mobile and strong.
They love the music, the routines and tolerate all the things I make them do that “are good for them”. From this I have created a social coffee group, so after class we all go over for morning coffee.
If they can’t make class they still come for coffee!
They have formed what I fondly call “the sisterhood”.
We have been through husband’s deaths, children having babies, and a few weddings. They are so committed to this that they wouldn’t stop coming for any reason.
(b) I also teach some gentle exercise classes to 3 mature, less fit groups who are newer to exercising and have more health problems.
I have husbands and wives that come together and it is a moderate activity program that combines aerobic activity with weight bearing, balance, mobility and stretching exercises.
Chair based options are provided.
This is still a lot of fun and they quite often sing along with the songs. They are coming to improve and maintain their health, and to have fun.
What fitness gains do your participants report and what impact has that had on their well being and quality of life?
People tell me it is easier to get out of bed in the morning, they can do everyday tasks with greater ease, e.g. – doing up a bra, putting on a seatbelt, picking something up off the floor, their mobility has improved but mainly they say their balance has improved.
I do notice some people are lonely and depressed and they are a lot brighter now and more positive and they enjoy the social interaction and have made friends.
They can feel and see a difference, some have said they can get up off the floor without help now; this translates to other areas of their life.
I also give them homework – to brush their teeth using the other hand, whenever they are sitting as they get up to do 3 chair-squats, not to lean on the supermarket trolley, stand tall, write their shopping list with their non-dominant hand.
What would you say to someone in this age group, looking for an appropriate class to participate in?
Start with a doctor’s clearance, and have a health check up.
Then start gently with something you would enjoy, it might be walking the dog, or walking with a friend, build from 5 mins up to 40 mins. Refer to a gym/health club, or a community centre – they have a variety of programs suitable for this age group – from Tai Chi to gentle exercise classes.
It helps if the classes are fun and if you can have a laugh and to also feel part of a group – to fit in.
A good instructor with good knowledge who you can trust would be beneficial.
What message would you give to someone in their later years who may never have exercised before?
It is never too late, start with small steps, find something you enjoy doing, perhaps it might be a social sport from lawn bowls, golf, tennis – something active this will help your overall wellbeing.
You will be able to do things with greater ease and be fit for life.
Things I think are important are: –
- Aerobic Fitness
- Core Strength (for Posture)
Put simply, if you are active and mobile it can help you to avoid injuries, it can help if you have a bad back.
Some people may feel they have too much wrong with them and are frightened, but there is so much variety with exercise programs and so many options and modifications for everyone it isn’t hard.
What other message would you like to bring to this community?
It’s so much more than exercise.
The relationships people build help them face the joys and challenges of life, provide support, strength and respite, the psychological benefits are enormous.
A positive outcome can be achieved by being part of a group.
Live better, not just longer.
Do this by being healthy and active; this lifestyle contributes to our longevity.