Tucked away in Strand Street in Sandwich is a new wellness centre offering older people or those with mobility problems the chance to work out.
Nina Cobb, 71, opened The Retreat last month. As a trained accountant who has lived in the town for 35 years, this is a change of direction, but one that seems to be paying off for her as well as others.
Using Shapemaster power-assisted chairs, worth about £5,000 each, the centre offers people a 30-minute workout to exercise the lower and upper body simultaneously.
People spend three minutes on each apparatus, starting on chair one, working their way around the circuit to chair eight. Movements include chest press, leg press, tricep dip and leg curl, and ab pullover.
Mrs Cobb said: “In one month we’ve signed up 52 members, which has exceeded our expectations.
“The chairs are an adaptation of the old toning tables. It keeps myself fit, as well as others. They are also good for toning and inch loss.
“We suggest people do two to three sessions a week. Two is good, three is better. We’ve had a lady who has come everyday for a month and has lost five inches around her waist.”
The machines are easy to use, with different levels and speeds and an emergency stop button if needed.
The team can help people with the chairs and offer a range of massage therapies including hot stone massage, Indian scalp massage, sports massage and Thai herbal poultice massage.
She is also looking to employ two personal trainers.
Sandwich resident Sheila Seed, 70, described it as “absolutely wonderful” and “the best thing that’s happened to Sandwich”.
The low-impact exercise regime is ideal for people with conditions such as MS, fibromyalgia, back pain, ME or arthritis.
Mrs Cobb said: “We’re targeting everybody, but it’s more suited to the middle-aged and to elderly and people with mobility problems or wheelchairs users.
“It’s also a good social activity. We have a few elderly ladies that come in to use the machines but also to socialise.
“We’re inviting people to come and see what we do. If people are interested we will give them a complimentary session before signing up.”
The premises are made up of one main room, a treatment room and a cloakroom.
After a modest joining fee, a monthly membership is £30. It is open from 8am until 8pm Monday to Friday, and 9am until 5pm on Saturdays and Sundays.