Health, happiness and hope of a better lifestyle are the mantras that 83-year-old seniors fitness instructor Dominic Yam instils in his group at the Fitness 50 Club at Hamersley Leisure Centre.
And, judging by the happy faces of the mainly women taking part in a recent Monday morning class, the exercise is reaping its rewards.
Sandra Wilson, of Greenwood, has been involved in Dominic’s classes for the past 12 years.
“They are brilliant, really good,” she said. “I have arthritis and had a hip replacement. I found the exercises excellent. Physically and mentally they improve my health.”
Shirley Lizza, of Balcatta, said she had been attending classes for about 10 years.
“They are excellent with a happy atmosphere and you really get a workout,” she said. “Dominic makes it especially interesting with his eastern philosophy.”
Jen Hilgendorf, of Karrinyup, who started classes nine weeks ago, said she had discovered muscles she hadn’t used in decades.
“It took about six weeks for the benefits to kick in and now I feel as if my body has physically woken up.”
Dominic, an Australian citizen of Chinese heritage, migrated to Perth with wife Amy from Ipoh, Malaysia, in 1980. He worked as an aeronautical engineer with MMA and later Skywest. He also worked at TAFE in Subiaco, teaching engineering.
“When I retired in 2005, I wanted to do something rather than sit at home or play golf so I took up fitness training,” he said. “I did a three-month course at the Institute for Fitness in Perth and, once qualified, joined Fitness Australia, since rebranded as Aus Active.”
Dominic, who offers free consultations, started instructing 17 years ago. These days, he holds classes for 60 to 75-year-olds at Hamersley Leisure Centre on Mondays and Thursdays, with a Saturday class for people still working and also classes at Wanneroo and Joondalup.
“At Fitness 50 Club, members are in the company of people their own age with the same goals as opposed to a gym full of younger people where one can feel uncomfortable exercising,” he said.
“The club aims to help seniors resume physical activity. I realised that as one gets older, there is a tendency not to move like one used to in youth. This reduces mobility, induces weakness in the legs and increases the likelihood of falls, causing serious injury.”
Dominic said the club also provided a meeting place where new friendships were often formed. Exercise routines are choreographed with easy-to-follow steps to popular old-time music, making it a fun environment that caters to each individual’s fitness level.
While complying with the standards of exercise set by Aus Active, the routines also incorporate Chinese philosophies of martial arts, exercises of tai chi movements, qi gong (art of deep breathing), foot reflexology and the art of meditation.
These help in the development of internal strength in overcoming mental stress, the detoxification of internal organs and increase mental strength.
Dominic himself is a picture of health despite open heart surgery in 2012, quickly recovering from the procedure with a strict exercise routine.
“I receive tremendous joy in being able to help seniors increase health, happiness and hope, it’s something I want to pass on,” he said.
Dominic and Amy have two children and two grandchildren. In 2012 he was awarded the Active Persons award and, in 2020, Senior Community Citizen of the Year. He is also a Fitness Australia award of life-time member.
“I want to awaken seniors to the joy of exercising. Staying at home is not good,” he said.
Anyone wishing to join Dominic’s classes can contact him on 0415 301 142 or email: email@example.com