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Meet Trish Tenn from Seniors Fitness

Image by Jamie Tenn.

22 February 2021

Trish Tenn senior fitness 2

In recent months we’ve all found it difficult to muster the motivation to stick to a regular exercise routine. Whether that usually consists of following an online Zumba class or simply getting up and getting outside to get those steps in.

We recently caught up with Trish Tenn from Seniors Fitness in Cheltenham for some hints and tips on keeping moving whilst at home and to find out more about the classes and support she provides for older people looking to keep fit in Cheltenham.

Hi Trish, please could you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you came to run Seniors Fitness?

I’m 58 and was born here in Cheltenham. At 18, I decided to leave to pursue a sports science degree in the 80s. I then spent 30 years living in London, working with the younger generations in the exercise industry. My first job was actually in the sport and social club at the Royal Free Hospital whilst I was there met an amazingly inspirational woman, Dr Susie Dinan, who became my mentor and introduced me to the world of exercise in later life.

I then launched myself into becoming qualified at the highest level and introducing this type of work to the sports centre. It is the practice of safe and effective exercise that produces real results in later life. I noticed that the exercise older people were doing was not backed up by science and I wanted to change this so that people would get the best results possible!

I have also studied many of the different types of medical conditions that can restrict people from exercising effectively, for example I didn’t want a heart attack to be a barrier to helping people. This has been my main focus for the last 25 years.

16 years ago I had my son and we moved our family back to Cheltenham. Here there is a large population of people over 60 who are wanting to be very active, but there was just not much on offer for them. So, I started working with Cheltenham Heart to Heart which was set up by heart patients who had finished their hospital rehab and wanted to exercise safely in a group. I am now their exercise tutor. We have 6 classes a week and are open to anyone with a heart condition.

One of your main focuses is providing physical confidence to people in the later stages of their life, how important is exercise in later life?

Exercise is extremely important to maintain physical and mental wellness in later life. One of my main passions is strength training. What people don’t realise is that strength training isn’t about having the biggest muscles, it’s about understanding that practicing simple movements and daily actions enables people to gain confidence and therefore vastly improves quality of life. The simplest example of this is just standing up and sitting down slowly and with control, which seems simple but it is not easy.

What is your favourite thing about your work?

I just have so many! The most satisfying part of my work is when someone approaches me at the start of a class and tells me that an exercise has prevented them from having an accident in their life at home. This will all be down to the tripping and falling practice that we do in classes. 

What is it you like about the area?

I have a collie dog who I do agility with and after living in central London for so long it is wonderful to be able to take long walks in the countryside which is right on my doorstep. Being just a short drive away from the Cotswolds and the hills is amazing. I also love the accessibility around here. Many walking routes have mobility access paths.

How has lockdown affected your business?

As we work with vulnerable people, we have had to switch to holding only zoom classes. We have managed to keep 70 attendees, all in their 70’s and 80’s. Some people have some issues logging in but the majority have launched themselves into getting online. 

I think the lockdown has impacted us all psychologically, especially the people who join the classes as they struggle on their own. For some, the class was their only chance for social interaction.

Do you have any tips and tricks for our Pegasus homeowners?

Yes I do! I would like to mention that these exercises should only be performed in a safe environment when someone can easily get to you in case of an emergency.

The first exercise is for those who know they can get onto the floor and stand up again on their own safely. Practice it once a day, every day because you never know when you might need it.

My next tip is to always keep on climbing the stairs for as long as you can! People often decide that it is not necessary to use stairs or they are too afraid. But my advice is if you are able to – then do it! People with sore knees can often climb up the stairs pain free and then use the lift to come back down.

Sit to stand is another good one that I have already mentioned – the lowering of the bottom is where you gain the strength and control, so practice lowering slowly and even pausing for a few seconds midway down. Build up to doing it 8 times in a row every other day.

Finally, some balance exercise is always good. Standing on one leg, and make sure to wobble, otherwise you are not challenging yourself.

For more information about the local classes you can join, go to my website www.seniorsfitness.co.uk. If you wish to sample some of the exercise check out my Youtube Channel Trish Tenn.

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Situated in Cheltenham, owners can enjoy the best of both city and country living at our One Bayshill Road or Latheram House later-living communities. Both offer a collection of one-, two- and three-bedroom homes to buy or rent. For further information on One Bayshill Road call 01242 292 930 or email [email protected] or for Latheram House: 01242 312 198 / [email protected]