Where would you expect to find most 70-year-olds on a cold winter’s night?
Not down the gym waving glow sticks along to classic club anthems, that’s for sure. But then Alan Meekings is no ordinary 70-year-old.
Proving that age and gender are no barriers to keeping fit, Alan is a regular at both Clubbercise and Zumba classes, in Holbeach, and is urging others to follow in his footsteps and reap the many benefits.
This grandfather of one has always been active – he served in the army, was commando and parachute trained and represented Great Britain at orienteering for many years.
He was a keen runner up to six years ago, capable of marathon distances, until tripping and injuring his foot, meaning he could no longer run.
“Running had always been my relaxation and therapy,” says Alan, a management consultant.
“So, when I could no longer run, I started to get depressed and put on a lot of weight, over two-and-half stones.
“Then I stumbled on Helen Lea’s Zumba classes. While I didn’t immediately twig there were no other men present, it was amazing, as I discovered that, although I couldn’t run, I could dance instead.
“I’ve always loved dancing and there are so many benefits to exercise that Zumba immediately cheered me up and prompted me to lose my excess weight.”
Then a friend told Alan about Nikki Healey’s Clubbercise classes – high energy dance workouts enabling participants to burn up to 600 calories per session – and he decided to try them too.
“At Clubbercise, because it’s held in the dark, you can exercise at your own level and you don’t even have to remember the moves. Indeed, it doesn’t matter if you go wrong, as you can just keep waving your glow sticks around and no one knows the difference.
“I think Clubbercise is especially suitable for men, as we can be embarrassed about attending dance classes in case we can’t follow the steps. Personally, I’m too old to care, but I do recognise that younger men can find learning dance steps in public a tad off-putting.
“Zumba and Clubbercise classes have been perfect for me,” says Alan, who attends up to four classes a week.
“Moreover, we’re privileged to have outstanding instructors locally. Their classes are accessible to everyone; offer significant health benefits and have a social dimension that’s hugely helpful too.”
Instructor Nikki added: “Alan is such an inspiration – and proof that it doesn’t matter how old you are, or whether you’re male or female.
“Anyone can come along and have a go at the classes – it’s all about getting fit and having fun while you’re doing it. It’s great to see Alan here each week enjoying himself.”
• Clubbercise with Nikki is at The Hub, Boston Road, 7.30pm on Wednesday and 9am Friday (term time only); Zumba with Helen is Tuesday at 9.30am and 6.30pm on Thursday, followed by a session of Glow Dance at 7.30pm, all at the WI Hall, Park Road.