Albert, 80, is fighting fit

Albert Exley
Albert Exley
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Albert Exley is living proof that you are never too old to exercise.

Albert, who celebrates his 81st birthday next month, does circuit training three times a week as well as playing badminton at PJs Health and Fitness Village in Cleckheaton.

Albert works out at PJs

Albert works out at PJs

He has been a member there for 10 years and is a shining example of how exercise can improve health and well-being.

PJs owner Kathryn Cooke said: “Albert is remarkable, but he is by no means alone.

“We used to have a ‘retired circuit’ class, but had to drop the ‘retired’ from the name because they were better than those in the other classes!”

Kathryn has welcomed a recent government report saying doctors should prescribe exercise for the over 55s, as well as medication.

“As we get older, it’s even more important that we remain active if we want to stay healthy and maintain our independence to enable us to continue doing things we’ve always enjoyed and taken for granted, like playing with the grandchildren, walking to the shops and meeting up with friends,” she said.

“We can also greatly reduce the risk of obesity, mental illness, heart disease, stroke, type two diabetes, some cancers, arthritis and depression.”

Albert said he had benefited greatly from his active lifestyle.

“Going to PJs Health Club has been a big part of my life now for well over 10 years,” he said. “I joined before my 70th birthday and had individual programmes prepared for me.

“I really enjoy the sociable atmosphere and the mix of all ages, particularly in the circuit training.

“I know keeping active and going to the gym regularly has helped enable me to live my life to the full and feel so fit and healthy.”

As part of the Great Spen Valley Health Challenge – of which the Guardian is a founder member, PJs has just run a 20 week free exercise class, funded by the NHS, encouraging previously inactive people to take up exercise.

Kathryn said the results had been very encouraging.

“We had a great response. Most hadn’t been to a gym before and this just broke down any barriers,” she said.

“Many people think if they have conditions like arthritis they can’t do it, but with the right weight training they find it actually reduces their pain and improves their mobility.

“Most people can aspire to what Albert does. The key is to start by retirement age and to keep it going. We have members who started coming in their 60s and are still with us 20 years later.”