There were some brave people in the gym this morning. One man was lying almost vertically, head back, on a kind of black leather torture machine doing ‘roll-ups’, using his stomach muscles to come up and touch his toes. Another was dangling from an overhead bar, pulling himself up to almost hip level just using his arms. Most of the women seemed to be doing sensible things, I thought, till I heard what seemed to be an almighty fight at one end of the gym, with noise and sounds of crashing and grunts and raucous shouting. It sounded like a gang fight, but turned out to be the spinning class, a bunch of (mainly) women on fixed bikes cycling as though their lives depended on it, urged on by a fearsome young lady on a bike facing them at the front, screaming instructions over martial music.

Is this really the right place for me, I wondered, turning my eyes to the TV screen facing the row of treadmills. And wonders – there were four older folk, in their seventies and eighties, enjoying a game of Badminton, or something that looked like it except the net was lower. It definitely wasn’t tennis. They weren’t being screamed at and were obviously enjoying themselves.

Turns out it’s something called Pickleball, a mixture of Badminton, tennis and table tennis. It has its origins in America and is growing in popularity here in the UK – and you can win medals whether you are 18 or 80!

What a great activity! Recent studies are showing the benefits of exercise in preventing all kinds of diseases, including dementia.

Go older folks – Go! You can see more about it here –

Louise Morse

Louise Morse MA (CBT) is media and external relations manager for the Pilgrims’ Friend Society. She is a writer and speaker, and author of books on issues of old age, including dementia, published by Lion Monarch and SPCK. She is a cognitive behavioural therapist, and her Masters’ dissertation examined the effects of caring for a loved one with dementia on close relatives.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Gill Smith

    It was my partner Brian Hook (83) and myself (78) on the T.V programme you saw . Yes we love the game , have enormous fun and lots of laughs . We won bronze medals in Amsterdam last year and this year in September we are off to Madrid to play in our second international !! We feel very fit so far !
    Gill Smith

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