At 50 I thought I needed a change. I’d left teaching, started teaching exercise classes for the young at heart and found that I loved my new job. My class members persuaded me to make a DVD so they could do the exercises at home and in 2010 I launched Move it or Lose it, named by the people in my classes. I could never have guessed that this would lead to a new world of entrepreneuring.
I met with Professor Janet Lord at University of Birmingham and was overjoyed at her positive response and encouragement. So a long and happy friendship began with the Centre for Healthy Ageing Research at University of Birmingham. Janet encouraged me to make further DVDs focusing on strength and balance and even provided funding for the Put Pep in your Step videos.
Every DVD relied on finding some enthusiastic class members to join me on camera. During this time I met ‘little Ann’ who has turned up for every event and written dozens of blogs for us sharing her life experiences, positive thoughts and reminiscences along the way.
Along with Trish and Margaret, we featured on Ideal World TV winning the Best Fitness Newcomer Award.
I wrote our Stay Fit for Life book – one of my proudest achievements – which was picked up by the NHS commissioners in the West Midlands and sent to hundreds of care homes to help their residents to stay independent for longer.
We worked with the Falls Steering Group and RoSPA on the three year Stand Up Stay Up programme to promote better balance and reduce the risk of having a fall.
We became training providers and developed the FABS training programme to include flexibility, aerobics, balance and strength in one fun-filled class. Now we have hundreds of instructors helping tens of thousands of older people to exercise and socialise together in their local communities across the length and breadth of the UK. Many of our instructors are in their 50s and 60s, showing that you don’t have to be young and super fit to be a great exercise teacher.
We’ve been commissioned by the NHS to run classes in GP surgeries across Birmingham reaching hundreds of people with long term health problems who would never normally consider going to an exercise class. We have proved, repeatedly, what a huge difference this makes to their lives. They improve their strength, mobility and confidence and realise that staying active is the key to living a happy and independent life. They often make friends and start getting out and about again. It’s truly a joy to behold when you see someone transform before your eyes!
As social prescription is going to be the way forward and help those who need support rather than medication, we are ready and waiting to scale up to meet the demand of the over 60s, the fastest growing demographic.
There are exciting times ahead and we will be celebrating at our annual conference in October, thanking everyone who has joined us on our mission to help more people to enjoy active, healthy, happy lives.
Congratulations and well done. Julie you have been amazing!
Dear Julie and everyone at Move It Or Lose It HQ Congratulations and many happy returns! So many memories and experiences, all happy ones I’m glad to say. You’ve improved so many lives and brought friendship to people, thanks hardly seems sufficient but it’s all I can say.