Joe leads by example

A 69 year old stone mason who has inspired dozens of men to take up aqua aerobics at Aura Tullamore after proving how the classes improved his health and fitness, has been named as the leisure centre’s Member of the Month.

A 69 year old stone mason who has inspired dozens of men to take up aqua aerobics at Aura Tullamore after proving how the classes improved his health and fitness, has been named as the leisure centre’s Member of the Month.

Joe Loonam from Clashawan in Clara was the first man from Offaly to participate in the aqua aerobics class having joined Aura Tullamore in 2010 with the goal of losing weight and improving his stamina and energy levels.

“There were no men in the aqua aerobics class when I started. The class was ideal for me so I decided to stick with it. That got me started and once I got fit I took the decision to combine the classes with gym work,” Joe explained.

Joe’s decision helped him to shed over 1.3 stone in weight and to trim down to just over 13 stone. It also encouraged a number of other men to take up the class and to reap the benefits.

“I have already introduced a friend to the class to help him lose weight and there are more men in the class now than when I started. Aqua aerobics is great because it is easy on the joints and because it takes the work out of swimming,” said Joe.

The classes provided Joe with a solid base from which to improve his overall fitness levels and he is now exercising up to three times a week having combined the classes with gym sessions. His gym programme is cardio based and includes training on the spin bike, the rower and cross trainer.

“I feel terrific and very fit and that has helped a lot with my work. I’m a stone mason so I do a lot of climbing on scaffolding. I have more energy for that now and even though I will soon be turning 70 being fit has made sure that it has not slowed me down one bit,” said Joe.

Joe’s commitment to the exercise routine he has developed at Aura and his initiative in setting an example for others by joining the aqua aerobics class was applauded by Emmet Scully, Operations Manager at Aura Tullamore Leisure Centre.

“Aqua aerobics is not always the first choice for men but Joe’s success has introduced dozens of men to its many benefits. We are delighted that he is now combining the classes with gym classes and that he is seeing real results for the time he is putting into that,” said Emmet.

“Joe has certainly been an inspiration to other members in Aura and he was a popular choice for this month’s Member of the Month award,” he added.