The Importance of Functional Fitness – Interview with Ann MacKay

Season 3 – Episode 3

Today’s guest, Ann MacKay, is one of the best examples of how living an active lifestyle truly keeps you feeling and looking youthful. Ann plays pickleball, enjoys skiing and has been leading group fitness classes for 35 years now. And, if you have ever taken part in one of Ann’s classes, you’ll know how fit and flexible she is.

In our conversation she shares how seniors can maintain their independence and quality of life through exercise. We chat about the difference between functional fitness and functional training. She outlines the 4 pillars of exercise older adults need, debunks myths that she has encountered over the years regarding starting an exercise regime at 65 +.

We also discuss the various class options offered by Lakeshore Recreation catering to older adults who want to keep fit, flexible, injury-free and mobile in their every day lives.

Contact: for further class information.

More about this podcast:

In the latest episode of the Inspiration 2 Grow podcast, host Lisa Oberbichler welcomes Ann MacKay, co-owner and founder of Lakeshore Recreation, to explore the pivotal role of functional fitness in supporting the aging population.

Through this comprehensive guide, glean invaluable insights into how older adults can maintain an active, independent lifestyle through functional fitness.

00:28 | Introduction to Ann MacKay and Lakeshore Recreation

Ann MacKay shares her journey and passion for promoting a healthy, active lifestyle at Lakeshore Recreation. Discover the essence of Lakeshore as a community hub for fitness and social activities, catering to a diverse range of members.

00:42 | The Fundamentals of Functional Fitness

MacKay delves into the concept of functional fitness, emphasizing exercises that mimic everyday movements to prevent injuries and support daily life. Learn about the importance of incorporating strength, balance, flexibility, and endurance into fitness routines, especially for older adults.

06:48 | Debunking Myths About Aging and Exercise

Addressing common misconceptions, MacKay encourages individuals beyond 65 to embrace physical activity. Discover why it’s never too late to start an exercise routine and how to overcome barriers to getting active.

09:11 | The Social and Mental Health Benefits of Exercise

Beyond physical health, explore the positive impact of exercise on mental well-being and the role of group fitness classes in fostering social connections among older adults.

10:20 | Customized Fitness: Light Fit and Lighter Fit Classes

Gain insights into the specialized Light Fit and Lighter Fit classes designed for older adults and those new to exercise. Ann explains how these classes cater to varying fitness levels and emphasize the core components of functional fitness.

17:52 | Encouraging an Active Lifestyle

Concluding the episode, Ann offers practical advice for anyone looking to lead a more active lifestyle, emphasizing the significance of setting goals, tracking progress, and the reversibility of muscle loss through consistent exercise.


In our enlightening conversation with Ann, we’ve traversed the vital landscape of functional fitness for the aging population. Ann’s insights not only shed light on the importance of maintaining an active lifestyle through strength, balance, flexibility, and endurance exercises but also challenge the misconceptions that often deter older adults from embracing fitness.

It’s clear that the journey towards an active and independent lifestyle is not just about physical health; it’s about building a supportive community, enhancing mental well-being, and breaking down the barriers that age imposes. The specialized classes at Lakeshore Recreation, like Light Fit and Lighter Fit, exemplify how fitness programs can be tailored to meet the needs of every individual, regardless of their age or starting point.

The takeaways from today’s discussion are a powerful reminder that it’s never too late to start. Whether you’re 65 or 85, the benefits of engaging in functional fitness activities are boundless. From improving everyday movements to fostering social connections and mental health, the impact of a well-rounded fitness routine extends far beyond the gym.

As Ann poignantly concludes, the essence of being strong isn’t just about physical capabilities; it’s about nurturing the strength to lead a fulfilling, active life at any age. Let this conversation be your catalyst for change. Reach out to a fitness professional, join a class that resonates with you, and embark on your path to active aging with confidence and enthusiasm.

Remember, we grow old not because we stop exercising, but we stop exercising because we grow old. Don’t let age define your fitness journey—define your own path to wellness and vitality.

About Ann MacKay

Ann MacKay stands as a beacon of inspiration in the realm of fitness and wellness, particularly for the aging population. As the co-owner and founder of Lakeshore Recreation in Port Elgin, Ann has dedicated over three decades to fostering a community where fitness is accessible and enjoyable for everyone, regardless of age or fitness level.

With a vibrant spirit and a passion for active living, Ann is not only an accomplished entrepreneur but also a grandmother and mother of three who exemplifies the lifestyle she promotes. Her own active pursuits range from swimming and skiing to playing pickleball and teaching fitness classes, embodying the belief that staying active is key to maintaining quality of life at any age.

Ann’s expertise in functional fitness, coupled with her commitment to creating a welcoming environment at Lakeshore Recreation, has made her a respected figure in her community. She specializes in designing fitness programs that enhance everyday movements and prevent injuries, thereby helping older adults to remain independent and enjoy a rich, active lifestyle.

Through her work, Ann challenges the myths surrounding aging and exercise, proving that it’s never too late to start on the path to wellness. Her innovative Light Fit and Lighter Fit classes cater specifically to the needs of older adults, offering a supportive and encouraging space for them to improve their strength, balance, flexibility, and endurance.

Ann’s mission extends beyond the physical aspects of fitness; she values the social connections formed through group classes and the positive impact of exercise on mental health. By sharing her knowledge and enthusiasm, Ann MacKay not only changes lives through fitness but also builds a community where everyone feels included, motivated, and empowered to reach their health and wellness goals.

About Lisa Oberbichler (that’ me, by the way)

Lisa, a Certified Personal Trainer & Pilates Instructor at Lakeshore Recreation, is renowned for her holistic approach to fitness and well-being. With over 30 years of experience in personal development, Lisa brings a wealth of knowledge to her role. Originally from a small town near Lake Huron, Canada, she spent 25 years in Vienna, Austria, enriching her global perspective. As a passionate life coach, she specializes in empowering women to unlock their full potential, guiding them to overcome fears, boost self-esteem, and pursue their aspirations with confidence. Outside the gym, Lisa is an avid hiker, a budding diver, and a devoted mom to her Jack Russell Terrier, Charlotte. Her unique blend of professional expertise and personal experiences makes her an invaluable asset to the Lakeshore Recreation community.