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YMCA North Shore: News

Rise and shine – regardless of the age

As we grow older, our bodies become more limited in their ability to move, and many of us choose a sedentary life. However, award-winning exercise specialist Shirley McKain does everything she can to avoid a sedentary lifestyle for her clients.
At a young age, Shirley observed her grandmother succumb to a lifestyle stripped of exercise and activity. With no knowledge of how to help her maintain a healthy lifestyle, she was forced to idly watch as she grew weaker. Shirley, born with a desire to help and care for people, decided that the lack of ability to help was something she was never going to experience again.
Shirley said: “The experience with my grandmother inspired me to educate myself in the field of exercise and movement. I did some courses at university to enter the fitness industry and my new career began.
Once in the industry I realised there was an opportunity within the YMCA to take things a bit further.
“Some of our senior members were feeling unsafe and insecure as they were moving around the gym and were looking to leave.
This inspired me to create the Movement Therapy class for the elderly and those with physical disadvantages. The class soon became heart friendly once I completed my education courses with the Heart Foundation.”
For over 10 years Shirley has offered her Movement Therapy class at the YMCA North Shore to senior clients and the response has been phenomenal. Some of her clients are not yet retired, and are not necessarily those who have a desperate need for movement, they just love the class.
Shirley said: “Personally, I have a very diverse background in sports. I specialized in tennis, hockey and squash and dabbled in soccer, badminton, table tennis, basketball and netball. Many of my clients used to be very active within various sports, especially tennis, golf, rugby and basketball/netball, so I try to incorporate many of those movements in my group sessions to make it more fun for them!”
The fun part is of particular importance to Shirley, as her clients are joining for the social aspect just as much as for the exercise part.
She said: “My motto is ‘If you’ve got it, don’t lose it. If you’ve lost it, how can we find it?’ The classes focus on simple techniques for maintaining and developing vital body movements which disappear with age.
“Although I let my clients engage in a wide range of activities I always make sure they are safe and enjoy the social side of things.
Everyone loves to chat while they exercise, and I encourage that! This class really encourages people to socialise and get out instead of sitting at home. Be social and be active, regardless of your age!” Call the YMCA NOW on 480 7099.

by Channel Editorial