There were two fat ladies at the gym. No, this isn't the start of a bad joke, but a description of the latest fitness craze designed to keep your body - and brain - in good shape.
Treadmill bingo is not your run-of-the-mill game of housie.
The popular game of chance has moved from the bingo hall to gyms and leisure centres, with participants marking off their cards while gently working out on a running machine.
The Senior caught up with members of YMCA's Ku-ring-gai Fitness and Aquatic Centre in the Sydney suburb of West Pymble who were trying it for the first time.
YMCA fitness co-ordinator-cum-bingo caller Ros Morris said she had seen the idea in other gyms around the country so decided to try it.
"Its about taking part and having fun and a bit of a giggle while keeping moving," she said.
"The speed is set at four (a walking pace) on the machines and they are allowed a slight incline, but it is safe, since there's no running involved."
Armed with whiteboard markers, the bingo players (all are participants in the YMCA Pryme Movers classes) step up to the line of machines, which have laminated bingo cards taped to each screen.
Facing the players, Ros calls out the numbers. "Oh, I've always wanted to say this: legs eleven!" she cries.
The slightly puffed players frantically search their cards, crossing off any that come up. After what seems like a couple of minutes, but is more like 10 seconds, someone shouts "Bingo!" from the line of running machines.
It's former physiotherapist Anne Phillips, who claims the first prize - a YMCA backpack.
She said while she was nervous at first, she enjoyed the activity.
"It has a very good effect. You don't realise you're getting tired or working out and getting huffed and puffed and it's better than watching morning TV," she said.
"I love the YMCA and have been coming here for years."
The treadmill bingo was just one of the many free activities being held as part of the NSW Seniors Festival. Other events included 70s-themed aerobics and tai chi.
This article first appeared on www.thesenior.com.au