RETIREMENT conjures up an image of kicking back on the couch – and maybe some light exercise and a touch of gentle gardening.
But that picture couldn’t be further from the truth in the Capital, where sprightly pensioners are putting their younger counterparts to shame.
New research from fitness giant Nuffield Health has revealed that the average age of their most frequent gym goers in Edinburgh is 72 – and that they visit around once every three days.
These findings won support from Edinburgh Leisure, which said its regular visitors aged over 70 were more likely to remain members for a longer stretch of time than those in their 20s.
Brendan Brodie, Ageing Well project officer at Edinburgh Leisure, said: “Our data shows us that our members over 70 are likely to stay with us for 2.5 times longer than those in the 25-34 age bracket.
“This is probably due to the fact that the younger age group are more transient in terms of their jobs and lifestyles but also the fact that people are realising the health benefits of regular exercise.
“With 30 venues across the city and over 700 classes a week, there really is such a lot of choice at Edinburgh Leisure that people of any age can choose from.”
The latest study from Nuffield showed that the average age of their most frequent gym users across the UK is 67, with people in this age group visiting on average eight times a month.
This compares with 27-year-olds, who only visited on average five times a month.
Edinburgh Leisure now offers a wide range of programmes targeted specifically for those over the age of 50 to meet the trend.
Mr Brodie added: “As well as Active Lives and Ageing Well programmes, we also have the ‘Exercise After Stroke’ programme and our Move More Edinburgh in association with Macmillan Cancer Support.
“There is also Steady Steps, a community based health referral programme, which delivers group exercise sessions to adults who have had or are at risk of having a fall, with the aim of preventing future falls and injury.”
While there is often the preconception that life may start to slow down as people approach retirement age, the new findings have revealed that more are instead choosing to take control of their health and remain active, according to Nuffield Health.
Dr Davina Deniszczyc, Nuffield Health Medical executive director, said: “It is important for people of all ages to engage in active lifestyles and it is great to see that so many of our members are managing to visit the gym on a regular basis.
“As we age, the risk of serious health issues, such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, increases so it is especially important to make sure we continue to be active in order to lower this risk.
“We know that our members who have regular health MOTs see constant measurable improvements to their health and these are a great way for people to receive the help and reassurance they need to become more healthy, whatever their age.”