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Dan Height Fitness Instructor

Dan Height, Fitness Instructor at ExtraCare’s Hagley Road Village in Birmingham, is supporting the Associated Retirement Community Operator's (ARCO) Well-being Weekend. He tells us how he helps people stay healthy in later life...

“An active lifestyle is more important than ever as you get older. Regular exercise can boost energy, and maintain independence", says Dan

Picture:  Hagley Gym user, Geoff Green, describes how the gym helped him after a stroke.

Dan continues:"Here at Hagley Road Village, we've had a 90 year-old lady and an 88 year-old man who using the gym regularly. There are also people in wheelchairs enjoying Tai Chi and Zumba classes and residents who have had strokes taking part in circuit training. There are people coming to the gym who have never used a gym before. They started off managing just a few minutes on the machines now they are up to half an hour and coming regularly. I begin with small goals and then increase them gradually so people can go at their own pace and stay motivated." 

ARCO research says 70% of older people want to be more active: Read More

"There’s such a great atmosphere in the gym, with people encouraging each other. They begin to arrive just after the doors open at 8am and some come every day. They really enjoy it. It’s a good laugh, a nice group, and a great atmosphere. They leave feeling upbeat and ready for the day. It is a place where people make friends, then meet up for coffee after their work out or go to the social events together. 

"It’s a great way of meeting people. One of our residents was my former coach when I used to run as a teenager and I hadn’t seen him for over 15 years. He now uses the gym and is one of my volunteers. There are also other ways that our residents enjoy being active. Some go swimming or walk up and down the stairs to strengthen their legs.

"We have classes in the Village Hall and I try to encourage as many people as possible to get involved in some activity, whether that’s salsa classes, ballroom dancing, or walking. I have adapted circuit training so there are chairs at every station and if people are unsteady they can sit down and do the exercise. In the gym there is a machine designed mainly for wheelchair use.

"One lady was leaning to one side on the treadmill, and I corrected her posture. Now she walks more upright, and when she can she doesn’t use her stick but walks along the corridors with her hands on the rails instead.  Another lady has managed to lose two stones in weight. 

"It’s such a great feeling to know that I have made a difference to someone’s life.”

For more information please contact The ExtraCare Charitable Trust communications team:
Lucy Henson. M: 0789 105 3062
Geraldine Sheridan. M: 07973 168461
Richard Tower. M: 0772 055 3658.

About ARCO:
For information about the research survey please contact:
Alex Delaney,, 020 8533 8893/07709832453
Rachel Pidgeon,, 020 8533 8893/07503782489