Almost 4 million older people say that television is their main source of company.
It has been an aim of ours to get the message over to all those people watching television every day that there is something out there to help them improve their health, mental well-being and reduce their loneliness.
So it was with great excitement that following a meeting with our local BBC television news station that they wanted to run a story on the impact of Move it or Lose it. I explained to the editor that he had the power to literally transform people’s lives and fortunately he agreed.
The next two weeks we made plans for the radio and TV to come to see a class in action and find out just why so many thousands of older people are now enjoying exercise classes who previously thought there was nothing out there for them to do.
We wanted to bring these positive images and messages right in to people’s living rooms and show just how simple it is to keep active whatever your age or ability.
We set a challenge for people to do the ‘sit to stand’ in 30 seconds to see how they fared against national averages. Ann, one of our fantastic class ambassadors managed to do 30 in 30 seconds at the tender age of 80! By getting people to just do this simple exercise every day and improve their score they can turn back the clock and drop a decade in terms of muscle strength and function.
BBC Radio WM came out to interview people and ask how they had improved after attending the class and also record the fun and laughter that is part of a Move it or Lose it class.
The following morning at 7:30am I was interviewed by BBC Radio West Midlands and Shropshire explaining how Move it or Lose it had been commissioned to deliver classes in GP surgeries and why our programme is so successful. It was great to hear the wonderful comments from those class members saying how much it had changed their lives. From there I raced back to Margret’s house so she could show us how to do theCuppa Routine in her kitchen. BBC TV came to film her doing four simple exercises in the time it takes to boil the kettle at home.
From there we raced round to our community centre class where everyone was in high spirits and excited about being filmed and see themselves on the television. They joined in with gusto showing how much fun exercising can be.
The cameraman picked up on Wendy’s story, who at 91 is one of the oldest class members but looks and acts like she’s 10 years younger. He also interviewed Mary who has MS who told her story saying how she couldn’t stand before attending our classes and how wonderful it was for her to be able to exercise and maintain as much independence as she could.
The BBC then raced off to University of Birmingham to capture the views of Professor Janet Lord, an expert in active ageing, explaining how even in 12 weeks we can turn back the clock by up to 20 years in terms of muscle strength.
Then we waited, and waited. Each day we expected the footage to be shown and were just giving up hope when almost a week later it appeared on the teatime news bulletin. Hours of filming were condensed into a short three minute slot which captured everything we had hoped for.
Within minutes there was a huge spike in visits to our website and we have had a constant onslaught of phone enquiries ever since asking where people can find a local class. Of course as it was the BBC they didn’t advertise or give any contact details but it seems that many people are determined enough to find this out for themselves and get in touch.
Just imagine the impact we could have by getting this onto national television to show that older people can exercise, socialise and improve their wellbeing to help them live healthier, happier lives.
If you can do anything to help us spread the word then do let us know and in the meantime watch the video showing the day the BBC came to film.