Exercise is Medicine with Jonathan Freeman

Exercise is Medicine with Jonathan Freeman

Jonathan Freeman is the founder of Club Active. He tells us about his vision to help each and every one of Club Active gym members to change the way they age.

When I worked in a private practice, I was operating out of a commercial gym. I saw an opportunity to support and nurture the over 50s into exercising for their health. The biggest barriers for them going to the gym was the intimidation factor, not knowing what to do and needing a sense of community.

The fastest growing demographic in the world (50+) is largely not catered for in the mainstream fitness space. Over 50s need a safe, fun and non-intimidating environment that is supported by both professional staff and their peers. But now, they have Club Active. I have worked with thousands of people to help them change the way they age. I apply this knowledge to the classes, programs and overall mission at Club Active.

As an accredited Exercise Physiologist and a specialist in musculoskeletal rehabilitation, I understand the benefits of exercise and movement for everybody. When exercise is embraced, health is improved without the need for medication. The traditional fitness industry does not have a strong focus on health for all ages. This is why Club Active was born.

I wanted to create a space with modern, lightfilled open areas. These centres are between 450m2 and 600m2 with an allied health clinic adjacent to the gym, offering exercise physiologist, dietician and physiotherapist services.  

Gym and Exercise Improving Lives

There’s growing evidence to show the positive impact exercise has on individuals to improve health, particularly on chronic health conditions and managing the treatment processes. Everyone who joins Club Active receives a thorough review of their medical history prior to beginning their exercise journey. This allows us to understand what types of programs and classes may be best for them. Understanding their limitations and goals are also the key to adopting an exercise program for the long term.

Following this, a carefully designed tailored program is uploaded on to their Club Active ‘key’ which holds all their information and then they begin their exercise journey. The key allows the member to follow the program easily and may be able to increase or decrease their intensity depending on their level of fitness and goals. The key will only work on the machines that we have programmed for that specific member and their goal.

The word ‘fit’ is a very subjective term and everyone needs varying levels of fitness to pursue their daily wants or needs. If you want to live a healthy retirement and go on that trip of a lifetime you’ve been longing for, then exercise and movement is paramount. I have personally witnessed people who have lost a substantial amount of weight, and then climbed a mountain in Europe. These are the milestones that make Club Active what it is.

Club Active, the gym for over 50s
Club Active, the gym for over 50s

Expert Bio

Jonathan Freeman is the founder of Club Active
Jonathan Freeman is the founder of Club Active

Jonathan holds a Bachelor of Exercise Science and a Master of Exercise Science (Rehabilitation). He’s also a sessional academic and adjunct professional fellow at Southern Cross University, teaching Biomechanics, Anatomy and Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation. He’s worked in high performance sporting organisations, with Olympic champions, world title holders and state and national level athletes. He has even rehabilitated A-list celebrities and helped over thousands of patients improve their lives. Jonathan presents workshops both nationally and internationally, has been featured in many health and fitness publications, and has published academic literature in injury prevention.

Visit the Club Active website here.

Learn more about Club Active in our previous article.

Club Active: A Gym Just For The Over 50s

Club Active: A Gym Just For The Over 50s

Feel like other gyms with their loud doof doof music and their selfie-takers are not for you? Then say hello to Club Active. This is a place specifically designed for you.

Club Active was created by Founder and Managing Director, Jonathan Freeman, an Accredited Exercise Physiologist. He’s also a respected speaker on the benefits of exercise as medicine. Jonathan saw a need to provide a different kind of gym for the over 50s – that put wellness first and offered more support than a regular gym. Let’s be real here, this is the type of gym we always wanted but it didn’t exist – until now. Club Active is a unique chain of health and fitness centres for the over 50s, with a vision to change the way we age. And, they do this in a safe, fun and non-intimidating environment with the average age across its clubs being 62.

The facilities comprise of modern, spacious, light-filled open areas of medical-grade gym equipment, group fitness areas, cardio equipment, weights and other recreational areas designed to cater for all levels of health and fitness. So, if you are in the ripe part of your life, and want to get fit or keep fit, or use exercise to help mediate an illness, then this is a compelling proposition.

How is Club Active Different to Other Gyms?

Club Active is not like the traditional gym set-up with personal trainers, instead it is staffed with allied health professionals, including accredited exercise physiologist, dietician and physiotherapist. The university-trained exercise physiologists design and monitor tailored exercise programs for you that are housed on a Club Active ‘key’. This key allows the member to follow the program easily as it will only work on the machines programmed for that specific member and their goal.

The community aspect is also a big winner. Club Active offers a more ‘club’ feel, providing social engagement and connection. Individuals who live on their own or are limited in their ability to get out and about, love this about Club Active. It is a sense of belonging to a ‘community.’ This is a different feel to the fast-paced ‘swipe in, swipe out’ gyms. Club Active wants Baby Boomers to stay socially connected as loneliness can lead to disrupted sleep patterns, elevated blood pressure, increased cortisol levels. It can also lead to isolation and depression. Contact with your community also maintains cognitive function. We all know the benefits of exercise. But for Silvers, there are added benefits. Exercise can prevent and manage chronic conditions. And, strength and fitness mean Silvers can maintain an independent lifestyle.

Club Active, the gym for over 50s
Club Active, the gym for over 50s

Rebates and Incentives

There are government incentives and rebates through the Department of Veteran Affairs, as well as Medicare, private health insurance and NDIS. Because physical inactivity is the second largest cause of chronic disease and ill-health in Australia, the government wants Silvers to get into places like Club Active. The membership team can help you with this, so pop in or call. Remember, you are never too old to start and there has never been a better time to join a gym.

Who Should Come to Club Active?

Anyone who wants to take a proactive approach to their health to ward off or delay the onset of the various diseases associated with ageing. Great candidates are those who simply want to feel stronger, or lose weight, or keep mobile. The allied health professional team at Club Active can also help those who have diagnosed health conditions – for example diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis, heart conditions, asthma etc. Or, those who have injuries or need pre/post-operative care to assist in the management of symptoms.

What do Club Active Members Like Best?

According to surveys done by Club Active, women generally love the Group Fitness Classes – Groove, Move & Tone, Pilates. This is while the men are generally enjoying their tailored program designed by an exercise physiologist – and perhaps a Strength Group Class.

One of the many fitness classes available at Club Active
One of the many fitness classes available at Club Active

Benefits of Exercise for Older Adults

Stats about the over 50s:

  • Only one in 10 exercises enough to gain any cardiovascular benefit.
  • 70% older people are overweight or obese.
  • Physical inactivity (low levels of physical activity) is the fourth leading cause of death.
  • The seven diseases most closely linked to physical inactivity (in descending order)
    • Diabetes
    • Bowel and uterine cancer
    • Dementia
    • Breast cancer
    • Coronary heart diseases
    • Stroke

Case Study

Lindy Lynch is 58. She has been a member since Club Active opened in May 2017. I was first referred to Club Active by my doctor. I had worked at a computer for a long time at my job and had some back problems. Jonathan at Club Active did some Exercise Physiologist (EP) work on me to help get me right again. After I retired, I continued to go to Club Active three times a week with my husband. He’s actually eligible under the Veterans Affairs’ benefit.

I love working on the machines, my routines are designed around my back issues. I have been able to build up my strength immensely and get back on the rower, which I hadn’t been able to do for years – but also because I was too scared. When you are told you have a bad back and you can’t do things anymore, you tend to believe it. But you don’t have to live like that. I have built up my strength with weights, which I love. The weight machines there are assisted and medical grade so it is easily controlled and you always feel safe. Now that I am well again, I will definitely continue going for maintaining my wellbeing.

Part of my regime is a lot of stretching. This strengthens my core. I find if I don’t do this, my muscles let go a little, and my back issues return. As I have become fitter and stronger, life becomes easier. I was at the point where I couldn’t get up off the lounge chair without using my hands, I could not get off the floor, and I could not roll over in bed. Now, I can just get up without struggle. It has been amazing.

Linda Lynch enjoying exercise at Club Active
Lindy Lynch enjoying exercise at Club Active

Here’s Why Club Active is for YOU

The benefits you can expect from attending a Club Active facility is the guidance, encouragement and assistance you’ll receive to stay fit, healthy and mobile. This will enable you to enjoy your lifestyle for longer – whether that be playing golf, gardening, being able to pick their grandkids up or get down on the floor and play with them or go on holidays.

Check out the Club Active website here!

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