As you age exercise becomes a thing of the past, right?
Move it or Lose it say otherwise. This week I had the privilege of attending Julie Robinson’s class at Falcon Lodge in Sutton Coldfield, and was truly inspired. I didn’t know what to expect from the session, although came away feeling immensely excited about the way Move it or Lose it are transforming the fitness industry to be more accommodating to all ages. Now, if you think that an exercise class for older people is going to be slow, dull and uneventful, think again! Move it or Lose it is so much more than just an exercise class, it is a holistic experience, incorporating singing, dancing and community too!
The best way to describe the class is: fun, energetic and inclusive. Whether you are in your 50s or approaching your centenary, Move it or Lose it welcomes you. If you want to sit, stand or do a bit of both throughout the workout, all abilities are accommodated for. The routines are coordinated to some of the all-time greatest hits, including songs by The Beatles, Queen and ABBA– a reminder that whilst our bodies change with age, music can help to keep us feeling energetic and youthful.
The session begins with a seated warm up, which in my session was accompanied by Fleetwood Mac. Class members are guided through a series of exercises to loosen up the joints in preparation for the 60 minute session ahead. More dynamic movements are gradually introduced including swimming strokes, ski-type actions and timeless dance moves – the ‘mash potato’ and ‘criss-cross’ being some of the crowd favourites.
Fun equipment is incorporated into the session to keep the class interesting (and don’t worry, it is not of the treadmill or rowing machine variety). The baton was first – not the hard metal kind – but a softer, low-tech version which can be used as a nifty grip strengthener, and when used correctly, to help increase shoulder, back and arm movement. Next, bean bags and hula hoops. Coordination and flexibility are tested through a range of throwing and catching exercises that stimulate the brain as well as the body (no hula dancing experience required). Finally, the resistance bands. At this point the group were enjoying themselves so much I could not help but join in! We worked our upper and lower body by stretching and releasing the bands and working against the resistance to achieve that oh so satisfying feeling of achievement. Now the only thing left to do was a well-deserved cool down. We ended with a variety of seated activities involving flowing movements in the style of Tai-Chi.
After class, I was lucky enough to speak to some of the participants and was amazed to discover that the class at Falcon Lodge started 10 years ago and with only 8 participants. Since then, the group has grown to 30 people, and there are more people lining up at the door! I met Wendy, a 72 year old woman who lives locally. She told me that she had disliked P.E. lessons at school and throughout her life has found it difficult to find forms of exercise she truly enjoys. Wendy discovered Move it or Lose it three years ago and never misses a session. She spoke passionately about the feeling of community the classes bring and the new motivation she feels towards active ageing.
So come along and give Move it or Lose it a go, what have you got to lose?
4 reasons why FABS classes are, well – fab!
- You set your own pace. You can sit or stand and go as fast or slow as you like. FABS instructors are there to keep you safe and to make sure you never feel outside of your comfort zone.
- It’s fun! Music, dance and games – will make you forget that you are even exercising.
- There is more to it than just the body. FABS improves the mind and incorporates exercises that sharpen memory and mental dexterity too.
- Community is key. Classes will bring you together with people from your local area that you can meet and catch up with at every weekly session.
I have just one word of caution about FABS…once you come along the first time, you will keep on wanting to come back!
Article by Ella-Jane Coxwell.