WORK IT OUT: Bill Hardy's Be Healthy fitness classes are a hit with the over-60s, who are having fun and feeling better for the exercise.
WORK IT OUT: Bill Hardy's Be Healthy fitness classes are a hit with the over-60s, who are having fun and feeling better for the exercise.

Get fit and get the Bill of health

BILL Hardy would like nothing better than to see men over 60 lined up around the block to do his Be Healthy fitness classes.

It's not that he makes a lot of money from them at just $3-6 a person per session, but he believes men feel so much better both in and about themselves when they make the effort to train.

"It's a bit of a passion for me helping older people have a better quality of life. I get a buzz out of that," Bill said.

Bill runs four fitness classes a week specifically for men - two at Robina which are now supported by Gold Coast City Council's Active and Healthy program, and two at Elanora.

All four are under the auspices of 60 & Better Southern Gold Coast.

His entry to the fitness world was a tough one. In 2010, while recovering from prostate cancer treatment, he was advised to attend fitness classes.

He wasn't impressed by how he and the other older men, already traumatised by cancer, were treated and he decided there had to be a better way.

He retired at 64 years old and began 18 months of TAFE to train mature-age people, particularly men.

A 2015 Queensland survey found only 3% of men over 60 participate in any form of fitness class.

"There's a lot of men don't want to train with women," Bill said. "And there's not a lot of classes just for men out there."

He regularly gets 15-20 men at each class. He believes part of the attraction is that he knows and understands the sort of training older men want and need.

"A lot of programs want to train everyone the same. They don't understand the restrictions that an older person has, that they need more breaks," Bill said.

"I'm one of them, so I understand what they are feeling. I want them to really get something out of it, so we do the same sort of training as a 30-year-old but modified in a way our bodies can handle it.

"I push them a bit, but I try and make all the classes fun. We work all the different parts of the body and keep variety in the activities. There's a lot of camaraderie and we have a good laugh. I think that's why they keep coming back."

After about six weeks, some men say they feel stronger, others that their back pain has eased, shoulders loosened, or their wife comments on how much better they look.

"Every one of my blokes down to a man says how much better they feel," Bill said.

Bill does also run a number of women's and mixed classes. Info: Bill on 0413 708 903 or 60 & Better 5525 6466.

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