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Health and fitness interview: John Thewlis of The Mere Health Club

Keeping fit is important throughout our lives, becoming all the more essential as we get older. Not only is exercise vital for keeping in good health, it also provides an opportunity to try new things and meet new people. We have therefore spoken to John Thewlis, Senior Fitness Coach at The Mere Health Club and Spa about health, fitness and why it's so important for the over 50s in particular to keep active.


How long have you been involved in the fitness industry?

I've been working in this industry now for nearly 10 years in a variety of different environments. 

Is health and fitness something that has always interested you?

From an early age I've always been active, playing a wide variety of sports and competing at a high level, which led me to study sports science at Liverpool John Moores University. I later went on to obtain a degree in physiotherapy at Sheffield Hallam. 

Why is keeping fit so important for those over the age of 50?

As you grow older, it becomes more important to maintain an active lifestyle as it helps to boost energy levels and manage symptoms of illness and other health issues. It can also be beneficial to the mind, as well as enhancing your memory and mood. At The Mere we try to ensure there is always a variety of exercise classes available to cater and benefit all age groups. 

How often should a person over the age of 50 exercise?

It would all depend on your current state of health. No matter what your age or current physical condition, everyone can benefit from exercise. There are a few simple steps for getting started: 

  • Get medical clearance 
  • Consider heath concerns 
  • Start slowly
  • Commit to an exercise schedule 
  • Stay motivated by goal settings 
  • Be aware of any health risks

What type of fitness programme would you recommend for somebody over the age of 50?

Getting rewards from exercise doesn't require strenuous workouts or even trips to the gym. It's all about adding movement and activity into your life. To build a balanced plan consider the following: 

  • Cardio endurance exercises 
  • Strength and power training 
  • Flexibility 
  • Balance 

Are there any particular gym classes/activities you would recommend for this age group?

It all depends on your ability and what environment you feel comfortable in. Low intensity classes could be anything from walking, senior sports or fitness classes, water aerobics and water sports, yoga and Tai chi. However, classes such as spinning, circuit or resistance are equally appropriate for those more capable. Here at The Mere we find our spinning classes are heavily frequented by our over 50s member base!

What sports are most popular among this age group?

Sports such as golf, tennis and badminton are popular. Group actives such as run clubs and bowls help people meet new people and feel part of a group and community. 

Are there any sports you would recommend for this age group that might not be immediately obvious to them?

All types of new activities are starting up aimed at an ageing population. As strange as it may seem, touch rugby and walking football are becoming popular among this demographic. 

With summer approaching, which sports would you recommend for over 50s at this time of year?

Outside the traditional summer sports such as tennis and golf, lower intensity activities like hikes and trail walks are all beneficial to both the body and the mind.


This is our latest blog looking at health and fitness in recent weeks. For Equilibrium's advice on keeping active, check out Our Top 10 Tips for Staying Fit and Healthy Ove the Age of 50.