Val McKay: From recovery to an ambassador for an active lifestyle


Award-winning charity Sport Aberdeen runs a wide range of classes every week as part of the Active Lifestyles programme.  The programme provides inclusive opportunities for everyone to get active and participate in physical activity regardless of whether you are starting out, recovering from injury, living with a long-term health condition or an older adult.

After undergoing a series of hip operations which threw the brakes on the active lifestyle, she had been accustomed to for so long, former nurse Val McKay realised that she was, in her own words, “grossly unfit” and knew she needed to find a way to get herself back on the road to fitness.

Val has been a Sport Aberdeen Active Lifestyles 65 + member for just under five years and is a perfect example of how a Sport Aberdeen membership, coupled with determination, is all you need to get you on track to a healthy and active lifestyle regardless of age, gender or ability.

Val started her active journey by attending open sessions at Bucksburn Swimming Pool. She was able to use these sessions as a means of regaining strength in her hip by walking against the water in her own time and at her own pace.

“When I was sufficiently mobile, I decided it was time to start looking for suitable classes. I found myself attending two or sometimes even three a day.”

Val began by attending Sport Aberdeen’s Active Lifestyles classes such as ‘Technogym’ and the Walk Aberdeen health walks. Both these activities provide low impact, light exercise, ideal for anyone who may be recovering from surgery or an illness, but Val soon realised that she was looking for something more challenging.

“I am a lot stronger, more flexible and my balance is much better. I’m just generally fitter, healthier and more mobile.”

“The classes are excellent, and the good music definitely helps! I started with Technogym but it wasn’t enough for me! I started looking to take my exercise more seriously, so I began attending the gym independently of classes.”

Val quickly made use of her access to one of the 10 gyms available with her Sport Aberdeen membership. Her closest venue is Get Active @ Sheddocksley and she found that using the wide range of machines in the newly modernised facility was a great way to supplement the exercise she does at her classes.

“The fact I’m paying under 20 pounds a month is fantastic. Otherwise I wouldn’t be able to do half the exercise I am currently doing.”

Sport Aberdeen is the only leisure provider in the north-east offering access to swimming, gym, racquets, ice skating, snowsports and outdoor adventure activities as part of one membership.

If you sign up to a Get Active 65+, GA1-5, Active Starts or Active Futures membership before the end of February you will receive your first full month completely free. Get more when you get active with Sport Aberdeen.