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Age-friendly Case Study: Clifton Exercise Club

4 Jul 2019

Part of our recent age-friendly work has included launching a toolkit for local businesses which has included top tips as well as local  case studies of organisations already working hard to become age-friendly. 

Clifton Exercise Club

"My primary goal as a business owner is to offer the friendliest gym in Bristol, with none of the barriers that people may encounter in other fitness environments due to age or ability. I’m proud to offer classes and personal training tailored towards older people, and have also designed the space and chosen and trained staff with older members in mind.

When people first step through the door, there are several features of the gym that immediately set it apart – a cheerful selection of indoor plants, and a seating area with refreshments available for members to socialise or rest. Our members have commented that this feels far more welcoming than being greeted by a dauntinglooking row of machines. There are no screens or music, which are an unnecessary distraction when exercising, and one you won’t need if your workout is focused and enjoyable. I employ staff based on their knowledge and approachability, rather than whether or not they ‘look fit’. They are all very easy to spot thanks to their bright pink polo shirts, and wearing this is nonnegotiable; if someone was too vain to wear the uniform, or didn’t want to represent the brand, they wouldn’t fit with our ethos.

I’m passionate about helping people to find an exercise routine that makes them feel good and that delivers tangible benefits. Many fitness programmes have a primary aim of sweating as much as possible or looking a certain way, but overlook really important benefits such as postural awareness, balance, functional strength and injury prevention and rehabilitation. Strength training in particular is incredibly important in later life, and we teach our members how to use weights and resistance machines in the most effective way, to ensure movements are smooth and controlled and that the training stimulus is appropriate for their body to adapt to.

We offer a range of classes, including fun-focused sessions such as dance classes; a lowintensity group cycling class called ‘pedal yourself pink’; a class called ‘core galore’ which focuses on core strength and alignment; ‘stretch and poise’ for flexibility and overall wellbeing; and much more. They all have a sociable focus, and are tailored to members’ own pace. Community is integral to our business model, and we publish a newsletter for members that includes details on new classes, Q&As with staff, healthy recipes, and information from other local businesses."


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