No barrier: Donna Leitch, 60, regularly performs up to 100 pound barbell deadlifts at her Court House Squash and Wellness Club sessions. *Photo by Colin Ayliffe
No barrier: Donna Leitch, 60, regularly performs up to 100 pound barbell deadlifts at her Court House Squash and Wellness Club sessions. *Photo by Colin Ayliffe

WEDNESDAY, JAN. 23: Colin Ayliffe is a certified Personal Trainer and Holistic Lifestyle Coach with over 10 years experience in training clients. Colin is Head Trainer at Court House Squash and Wellness in Hamilton. He graduated from the University of Surrey with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sport Science and is also a CHEK Practitioner, Golf Biomechanic and accredited by the National Academy of Sports Medicine.


The most common age group of gym users is known to be around 25-40 years old.

This is not surprising as commonly the younger adult is motivated by enhancing appearance and improving fitness levels in order to perform well in sports and competition. But what about the Baby Boomer generation?

All those between 50-65 years old. Most people in this age group seem to be on the golf course or on the couch but very rarely in the gym.

Once we surpass our physical prime in our late 20s we lose about 10 ounces of lean muscle and gain approximately one pound of body fat every year. That is a 10 pound weight increase every decade.

This gradual loss of muscle and greater body fat may explain why senior individuals have trouble performing daily tasks as they get older.

Losing muscle tissue will mean all those calories previously used by active muscles will now get stored as fat. This reduces the metabolism and results in weight gain.

Putting on the pounds is not the only downside of muscle loss. Decreased muscle tissue leads to bone loss associated with osteoporosis, decreases insulin sensitivity in the body which can lead to diabetes and impairs functional skeletal status resulting in movement dysfunction.

This is not the inevitable form of aging but the inevitable form of disuse. In strength training terms the Rule of Reversibility can be summarized as ‘if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it’ and explains the reason why seniors lose muscle, mobility and flexibility. It is because they stop using resistance training altogether and move onto other activities and sometimes even nothing at all.

Resistance training should play an important part in any senior’s lifestyle to improve quality of life and prevent frailty associated with aging.

Age really is just a number and although physiologically muscle function and strength decreases with age, muscle function can always be improved with training even in the very old. There is an alarming statistic in the US that 24 per cent of people over the age of 50 who fracture a hip die within a year. Falling is a very serious issue and can be prevented with resistance training and exercise.

If you are over 50 and wish to get back into a training regime then seek the help of an exercise professional in any of the gyms across Bermuda and try to follow these guidelines:

  • Perform one exercise for each Primal Pattern (Squat, Lunge, Bend, Push, Pull, Twist and Gait.)
  • Complete one to three sets of each exercise. Start with one set and build up as you get stronger.
  • Execute 12-15 repetitions per exercise. Increase weight once 15 reps become easy.
  • Include a flexibility routine and stretch out all the muscles that you feel are tight.
  • Carry out this routine two or three times per week. Consistency is key.

I train all my senior clients at the well-equipped Court House Squash and Wellness club using this effective method.

My 60-year old client, Donna Leitch, regularly performs up to 100 pound barbell deadlifts and knows that age really is just a number.