Personal fitness sessions make a difference across generations

Intergenerational project 2016

Personal Trainer Students from Chesterfield College have spent the last 12 weeks working with older people to devise fitness programmes that have really made a difference to their physical and mental well-being.

As part of the intergenerational project organised with Gill Clarke, Intergenerational Project Manager, Derbyshire County Council, people over 50 years old had a personal fitness plan worked out for them by students in the final year of their personal training course. Students worked with clients in the college gym to ensure they reached their fitness goals and were able to continue exercises at home that would make a difference to their general fitness. 

The oldest client, 94 year old Maisie told us:

“Coming here and working with the students helps me to stay flexible. I have always had an active lifestyle which is why I think I have enjoyed such good health but recently I have found I can’t walk as far as I used to. Coming to the gym and having a programme devised for you that takes that into account means I can keep fit in a different way.”

Rheiss, Student and personal trainer to Maisie explained:

“Working with Maisie has been a brilliant experience for me. She has taught me that age is just number and it is amazing what can be achieved with the right exercises. I have learnt so much by working with her about how to adapt exercises to suit ability. I know I will be able to put this into practice when I become a qualified personal trainer.”

One client in her 70s who had never been to a gym before explained that she came along because she thought she would be helping the students but she was amazed at how the programme had helped her gain mobility after several operations on her arms and shoulder.  

Chesterfield College Sports Lecturer, Chrissie Vale, summarised the positive impact of the project. She said:

“All of the clients have seen health benefits from mobility to weight loss. The students learn so much by working with people of different ages and abilities. They get to improve their practice and pick up people skills that you can’t teach someone in a classroom. Above all else though, the hidden benefit of how this type of project builds confidence and trust and makes social links between generations is really important.”