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‘My wife loves her new husband’: Aberdeenshire pensioner feels like a new man working out at the gym

Ian McHattie at the Station 83 gym.
Ian Mchattie enjoys working out at his local gym.

When Ian McHattie injured his shoulder slipping on ice he was given two choices – surgery or start going to the gym.

He tried various treatments, including physiotherapy, after ripping his rotator cuff when he landed awkwardly four years ago but was still in pain.

“There was a lack of movement,” the 70-year-old says. “I couldn’t lift my arm above shoulder height.

“If I tried anything more than that it was pretty uncomfortable.”

Then a hospital consultant told Ian, of Kemnay in Aberdeenshire, he had two options to help him recover.

He could undergo surgery, although it might not be successful, or he could start building up his strength through exercising instead.

He was also showing signs of age-related muscle wastage but his consultant at Woodend Hospital explained it was possible to delay this.

How did exercise help the injury?

Ian started working out with personal trainer Ben Riddell at his local Station 83 gym who came up with a personalised fitness programme.

He was shown how to do deadlifts to help strengthen his back, which he had also suffered problems with over the years, and learned how to use a bench press.

Ian had a tear in his rotator cuff, a group of muscles responsible for stabilising the shoulder joint.
Ian had a tear in his rotator cuff, a group of muscles responsible for stabilising the shoulder joint.

Resistance training at least twice a week can help slow down or partially reverse the effects of age-related muscle wastage, a condition known as sarcopenia.

And exercise can also help strengthen the shoulder muscles of patients with a rotator cuff injury and improve their flexibility.

My wife is pleased with her new husband

The retired oil and gas firm manager gradually built up his fitness working out in the gym three times a week and can now do 50 push-ups in a session as well as burpees.

He feels fitter than he’s been in the past 40 years – and his wife Stella even sent his personal trainer a card thanking him for her new slim husband.

“She’s quite pleased with the transformation,” Ian laughs. “I feel like a new man.

“One of the side effects of the exercise has been weight loss.

“I was nearly 13 stone for a while and through exercise I’ve lost nearly two stone.”

How has Ian’s life changed?

Ian McHattie working out at his local gym in Kemnay.
Ian McHattie working out at his local gym in Kemnay.

Ian was surprised to find he enjoyed working out at a gym.

“Before it was a bit of a chore, but once you get the adrenaline going and the endorphins pumping it’s nice,” he says.

“If you stick at it you’ll start to feel the benefits after about a month – you’ll realise there are things you can do that you couldn’t do before.

“I’m in my shed lifting things that would have been too heavy for me. A bag of wood used to be a problem – but now I’m not breaking a sweat.”

Ian usually heads to the gym for 6am, and mixes up his routine in the summer by heading off on his bike – cycling around 100 miles a week.

The health benefits of exercise for older adults.

This year he plans to cycle on a three-day trip along the 120-mile long Caledonian Way, between Oban and Campbeltown, with his brother-in-law.

“I would never have dreamt of doing that sort of thing a few years ago; I would never have thought it was possible.

“But anything is possible, it doesn’t matter how old you are.

“I’m trying to prolong an active life and I enjoy it.”

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Every Friday lunchtime we highlight an incredible story about recovery, overcoming illness and bravery.

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