Daily exercises keep the clock running

November 28, 1997

People who live longer do not have to fear a decrepit old age if they just keep active, say scientists

Dorothy Dobson, Dundee University assistant director of physical education, pioneered exercise classes for the over-60s almost 20 years ago.

Her classes now attract 1,400 pensioners a week, and are being franchised as far afield as Bournemouth, Walsall and Stafford, with profits ploughed back into research into ageing and health.

The 45-minute classes have been devised with experts from the department of medicine, and are safe for people with a range of health problems, including osteoporosis, mastectomies and hip replacements. She said: "Not one person should ever be affected adversely. I'm trying to keep them independent, so there's emphasis on the upper thighs so that they can rise from a chair, a lot of walking and keeping their hands moving."

The exercise is done to music with a variety of tempos, such as hymns, classical and Scottish tunes, and is all done by copying the class leader, which Miss Dobson says also helps to keep the mind nimble.

"There's a saying that you can't turn the clock back - but you can wind it up again."

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