Winter Wellness with Shane O'Connell from Elder Life Fitness

02 October 2023

Lifestyle Photoshoot July 2023 292

Shane O’Connell is the co-owner of Elder Life Fitness, a Winchester based business that specialises in fitness for those aged 60 and over and offers weekly sessions at our Winchester Holts community. His experience in creating fitness classes, that are adapted for later living, developed after he saw growing need in the industry, with more people choosing to stay active in later life.


Hi Shane, could you tell us a bit about yourself?

Myself and my partner Abby Knight are both Personal Trainers. We started Elder Life Fitness to make people aware that Personal Training and exercise classes are not just for the younger generation. We hold weekly classes in the local area, independent living
communities and 1 to 1 private sessions.

What are the benefits of keeping fit in later life?

Staying fit in later life is essential for independence and happiness. As we age, the strains of life, bad posture or past injuries can play havoc on our bodies. By including gentle exercises into your day, you can keep the body and mind stronger for longer and keep age at bay. As we get older, we lose muscle and bones become brittle; these are all factors that cause loss of balance and falls. By including exercise in your daily life, you can keep those muscles strong and improve bone density, thus improving balance and preventing falls.


Why is exercise important in Winter?
During the colder months people tend to be less active and usually aren’t out as much as they would like. Pair this with generally being sedentary at home, it’s clear to see why people can struggle through this darker time of year. Regular exercise not only offers the benefits mentioned above but will also help to keep the blood circulating around the body and raise body temperature. Group classes also provide a great social setting and a reason to get out and about.


What advice would you give to someone who wants to get back into fitness in later life?
If you haven’t been active for a while then my advice is to start by doing short exercise sessions or incorporate some exercises throughout the day. Slowing building up strength and endurance and not overdoing it is important. There are many resources online and on the NHS website that offer basic exercises. Pick a few and build them  into your day. Maybe 5-10 seated squats in
the morning and some heel raises while waiting for the kettle to boil. Even taking a flight of stairs a few times a day could be an option, but ensure you start slow and build yourself up.


Do you have any top tips for keeping fit over 60?
My advice is “Move it”. The key to a longer, more satisfying life is to keep moving! It’s easy in our modern lives to enjoy the comfort and convenience of new services and technology, but these don’t always help us stay active. Keeping the body moving and being dynamic in your daily life can be as simple as taking a walk, climbing the stairs, dancing around the house and remembering good posture. Other tips would be to join a local exercise class or use some online resources with some friends. Whatever you do, keep it fun and keep it consistent.


What class do you offer at Winchester Holts?
We currently offer a weekly exercise class to the homeowners and tenants at Winchester Holts. In every class we do seated and standing exercises, which includes strength, fitness, balance, coordination, mobility and flexibility. Along with this we listen to music and have a lot of fun doing it! “Shane’s classes are excellent – a perfect delight. Personally, my right shoulder had some difficulties when I first started the class. Now, some months later, I am happy to report a huge improvement. He has carefully tailored soft exercises for me to do in my own time and I am impressed by the progress I’ve made. As a fan of exercise, I can say in all honesty that I have never enjoyed a class as much as Shane’s.” - Sue Conway, Winchester Holts homeowner