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81-year-old fitness trainer offers smart workout tips for seniors: ‘It’s great to be fit’

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As “The Golden Bachelor” makes history for the popular TV franchise, it raises the question: What are the benefits of staying fit in your golden years?

Harry King, a corporate trainer for Planet Fitness in Greenville, South Carolina, knows a thing or two about keeping the older generation in shape.

The 81-year-old instructor has been a fitness fanatic since he was a kid, he told Fox News Digital in an interview — and he said he vowed to live a life without physical restraints.

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“I made a commitment to myself to never not do something because I wasn’t in shape to do it,” he said.

The aging population, said King, faces the risk of brittle bones, muscle loss and endurance depletion.

harry king benching

With his older clients, King (shown above) said he likes to “find out what their goals are, what limitations they may have and how we can work around those limitations to help them on their fitness journey.” (Planet Fitness)

“My brother-in-law fell and cracked his ribs and died in the hospital,” he said. “He was 91.”

Not only does working out strengthen muscles, it also helps improve brain cell activity, according to King.

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“It helps with our balance and our strength,” he said. “It helps us do the everyday activities that we like to do, whether that’s walking, housework or lawn maintenance.”

Added King, “I love getting on the floor with the grandkids and playing with them. It’s great to be fit, so you can do things … the small things in life that make a big difference.”

Grandpa with grandchildren

“It’s great to be fit, so you can do things … the small things in life that make a big difference,” said King (not pictured).  (iStock)

In the two years that he’s worked with Planet Fitness, King has helped clients of all ages, he said.

For people in older age groups, he suggests starting out slow and building a fitness foundation from there.

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“We have plenty of time to get fit, as long as we stick with it and [are] consistent with our workouts,” he said.

“We’re not trying to be muscle builders; we’re just trying to have great lifestyles.”

King emphasized the importance of understanding the correct technique and using the right equipment.

harry king planet fitness

For those in older age groups, King (shown here) suggests starting out slow and building a fitness foundation from there. “Don’t try to lift too much weight,” he also said.  (Planet Fitness)

“Whether you’re lifting weights or using dumbbells or machines, whatever you’re doing, make sure you’re doing it right,” he advised. 

“Don’t try to lift too much weight.”

The process of getting fit, he said, involves the same core components for all ages: It’s about figuring out goals and pinpointing limitations.

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But for seniors, King recommends low-intensity, steady-state (LISS) cardio, which involves workouts of lower intensity for longer periods of time.

These low-impact exercises are easy on the joints and are designed to be completed at about 65% maximum effort, according to the Planet Fitness website.

older woman biking

Low-impact workouts put less pressure on the knees, hips and ankles, according to Planet Fitness. (iStock)

Low-impact workouts target different areas of the body than high-impact workouts, helping to prevent future injuries and ease newcomers into a routine.

Some recommended low-impact workouts include walking, stationary biking and rowing.

Working out with a partner or friend is a good way to build accountability, King advised.

harry king working out

Planet Fitness corporate trainer Harry King works out his upper body. (Planet Fitness)

King, who has two grandchildren, said fitness has given him a better “frame of mind” throughout his marriage of nearly 60 years.

“My wife supports me when I kayak or hike across the state,” he said. 

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“My fitness journey has kept her involved.”

“She supports me in all this stuff,” he added. “That’s helped strengthen our bond.”

King expressed his excitement for “The Golden Bachelor” as a means of showing the public that seniors don’t have to sit back and slow down.

gerry turner golden bachelor

“The Golden Bachelor” is a means of showing the public that seniors don’t have to sit back and slow down, according to one personal trainer.  (Frank Micelotta/ABC via Getty Images)

“I think it’s going to inspire a lot of people in their older ages to get up and get off the sofa,” he said. “There’s a lot of life to live.”

The personal trainer said he hopes to inspire his older clients to do the same.

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“It’s never too late to start on your fitness journey,” he said. “Don’t think you’re too old.”

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He added, “It brings so many benefits, and I hope people will realize that.”

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