Fitness programmes for older adults ranked fourth in the ACSM’s (American College of Sports Medicine) annual top 20 list of worldwide fitness trends for 2023. Living and working for longer, people want to remain as healthy and physically active for as many years as possible. That’s just what Ian Northcott, owner of Mercian Fitness, helps his clients do.
The owner of Mercian Fitness in Bromsgrove, UK, Ian specialises in breaking sterotypes, with his core clientele over 50 years old; his oldest client being 78.
Understanding approaches such as the key benefits of heart rate training, Ian empowers his clients to push boundaries and exceed their expectations of what they can achieve, in a safe and controlled environment.
“Some people still believe they need to slow down and start to take things easy when they get to 50. I don’t agree and I won’t let my clients do it.
"Myzone helps them to understand what they are capable of.”
Reassuring members of their capabilities
Ian runs a variety of classes online; rowing, CV, strength, mobility and circuit classes, in addition to hosting five Nordic walking sessions a week.
“I use Myzone in every class so I can see how clients are doing and more importantly, to make sure they’re not overdoing it,” Ian explains. “We work predominantly in the green zone, but spend some time in the yellow zone, too.
“It’s not necessary to hit the red zone, but if they do then Myzone gives them reassurance that they are exercising safely and their bodies are responding in the way they should.”
One 70-year-old client used to panic whenever she got out of breath. Using the heart rate tracker and understanding the heart rate zones has given her the confidence to exercise at higher intensities.
“She realises she’s not going to hurt herself, so there’s no need to start bailing out. She’s now a lot fitter and much more comfortable with training up to her anaerobic zone.”
A shared fitness experience at any age
For the online sessions, Myzone has helped to elevate the fun and camaraderie by allowing everyone to work out together, hitting the same zones. After class, participants love logging on to the community app to see how their classmates got on.
“Myzone is a cost for clients, but once they get involved with it, they feel special and part of something. They like the buzz of it.”
The benefits of training with a goal in mind
Every three months, Ian adjusts his client’ goals as well as their target Myzone training zones so they continue to work at the right intensity to get results.
“Myzone helps me to explain fitness in a way my clients understand it, so they know the difference between training for a goal and just exercising.
“Once they understand how Myzone works by tracking their heart rate, they want to make sure the time they put into exercise is as efficient and effective as possible.
"Clients get better results if they use Myzone.”
Motivating gym members with activity challenges
Ian runs regular challenges – usually two a month – which are hugely popular. “Clients love the challenges; they make them really feel engaged. And if I’ve got engaged, motivated and inspired clients, they’ll stay with my business for longer.
“We all know that exercise is good for you, but some exercise is so hard that it increases risk,” Ian explains. “I want to encourage my clients so they can achieve more, but because they are older, l always want to make sure that we are on the right side of the risk-reward ratio.
“Myzone helps them to work hard safely. It’s a brilliant bit of kit.”