According to a new independent survey by Planet Fitness, people over 60 who exercise on a weekly basis feel 12 years younger than their real age.

Comparatively, people over 60 who do not exercise at all claim to feel only 5 years younger.

Shelby Ivey turns 80 next month and has been a member at Planet Fitness on North Broadway for two years.

She joined a gym to work on building up her strength, and has seen great improvements after working out consistently three times a week.

Shelby encourages people her age to start slow and build their way up over time.

She begins her routine by warming up with a brisk walk around the gym and some stretching. Shelby also claims that the judgment-free atmosphere at Planet Fitness allows her to go at her own pace and enjoy a combination of cardio and strength workouts three times a week.

According to Chelsea Wininger, Certified Fitness Instructor at Planet Fitness, over half of members say “feeling judgment from others” is one of the top reasons they refrain from joining a gym.

Knowing this, Chelsea offers free fitness training for people of all ages who might need some suggestions on how to make going to the gym a more relaxed and rewarding experience.

Here are 4 important tips for anyone over 60 to remember when joining a gym:

1. Be smart & start slow.
Even if you’re new to exercise, you probably have a good idea of your limitations so don’t try to take on too much too soon. Nothing can be more frustrating than injuring yourself while trying to improve your health - especially for older individuals for whom the recovery process can take longer. Be safe and smart by going slow and establishing a foundation that encompasses cardiovascular conditioning, strength training, and flexibility. Once you have this solid base established, you can add new activities that may be outside your normal comfort zone.

2. Don't be discouraged by a little discomfort.
People of all ages often complain of stiff joints, muscle soreness, and other minor discomforts when they begin to exercise, and this can be especially true for seniors. However, these are all signs that your body is identifying the stress you’re putting on it and is responding and adapting. In other words, it’s part of the process of getting more fit! Over time, you’ll find that exercise becomes easier and the recovery process won’t take nearly as long. It’s at this point that your motivation will start to increase and you’ll begin to reap the many benefits of exercise mentioned above. So stick with it…the payoff is well worth it!

3. Improve your flexibility.
Stretching is one of the most important things you can do to improve your exercise routine as it keeps your muscles and joints less prone to injury. This can be accomplished through station stretches or stretches that involve movement.

4. Consider using machine aids for strength training.
If you aren’t familiar with dumbbells, a strength machine can help you maintain proper form because the movement is assisted. This way, you can still target a specific muscle group, with a lower chance of injuring yourself.

5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help!
According to Chelsea, many individuals who come into Planet Fitness are worried they won’t understand how to use the equipment. Nothing is more important than working out safely, so take advantage of the staff and trainers at your gym so you are 100% sure you know how to use the equipment properly. Keep in mind that Fitness Training is free at Planet Fitness, and nothing makes them happier than helping people find fitness fun and enjoyable!