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World Health Day 2022: An inspiring chat with our Lark Hill Retirement Village Gym Instructor (A Powerlifting World Champion!!)

In honour of World Health Day, we recently had a chat with Mo Proctor. A phenomenal Powerlifting World Champion (!!), who also just so happens to be our Gym Instructor at ExtraCare’s Lark Hill retirement village in Nottingham. Keep reading to find out about her 25 years in the fitness industry, and how she uses her expertise to help our residents, particularly in the areas of Falls Prevention and Balance training.

Tell us a little bit about yourself, how you got into the health and fitness industry?

“I have worked in the fitness industry for 25 years, teaching classes in the community first and then onto working for a private health club where I worked as the Assistant Fitness Manager.

I have always loved fitness, having been a bodybuilder from 18 to 24 (I’m now 55!) and decided that I would like to make a career out of my passion.

After leaving my fitness manager position with The Healthworks, I was approached by the manager at ExtraCare’s retirement housing scheme Seagrave Court, to take up the position of Gym Instructor for 10 hours each week. I enjoyed this position for 12 years until I moved over to Lark Hill Village.

Here I started on a 20-hour contract, sharing the position with another gym instructor. Last year I got the fantastic opportunity to manage the gym full time which I am relishing as we are about to get an all singing all dancing new gym refurbishment….FANTASTIC!

In my spare time I do a little powerlifting. I have been competitive for the last 8 years having recently won the WPC World Championships. During my time powerlifting I have won British, European and World titles and have a collection of records for my lifts.”

Mo Proctor

Why is it important for mature adults to exercise?

“I do have a passion for older populations fitness and my particular area is Falls Prevention and Balance training. I love to help residents with their confidence in all aspects of fitness whether it be getting fit for a game of bowls, joining in our circuit class or simply being able to get out of a chair or walk to the shops.”

What is the best exercise for mature adults?

“In my opinion there is no “one size fits all” in terms of the best exercise as all clients present differently. If anything I encourage gentle mobilising exercises first if someone is new to the gym/exercise or low on confidence and/or ability. I keep things very simple with lots of potential for progression to be made.

E.g.: (Mary) wishes to go on a summer trip to the seaside but does not want to have to rely on being pushed around if she tires, so I would look to improve her walking ability and stamina. But also work on her confidence to attempt to walk along the prom, but be mindful that she may need a sit down along the way at intervals.

(Joyce) has just moved into a bungalow from a 2 storey house. She does not want to lose her ability to climb stairs and so we would programme a series of exercises to address stepping/stair climbing and overall leg strengthening exercises.”

What advice would you give to somebody who hasn’t exercised much throughout the pandemic and is finding the thought of going back to the gym quite daunting?

“For someone just venturing back into exercise, after a long layoff or lockdown etc I would suggest doing something that they find fun or a small group activity. If they want to have a go at the gym or more formal exercise, I would encourage them to book in for a one to one session with me to explore exercises that they can easily achieve, thus giving them a positive gym experience.”

How do you keep your clients motivated in the gym?

“I think my clients think I’m a little mad for doing the powerlifting, but this does have the bonus of inspiring them slightly into thinking they can do anything if they put their mind to it!”