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I come from a 20+ year career in corporate branding & marketing communications across various sectors; 15 years based in central London and 7 based in Johannesburg. I came back to the UK in May 2016 to be closer to my father who is battling the advanced stages of Parkinson’s disease, and for a time, I became his carer. Dad is now in a Nursing Home in Cheshire near the family home, and I am based in Conwy, so that I can make easy and regular visits to him.
The return to the UK and my Father’s condition encouraged a reassessment of priorities. Inspired by the help and rehabilitation care my Father had received following various hospital visits, and having witnessed the challenges of the ageing population and those who care for them, I decided that I wanted to help older adults to live independently for as long as possible, so that they would avoid any preventable hospital visits. That is when I came across Move it or Lose it! and the beginnings of an exciting new career.
In 2017, I trained to become a Move it or Lose t instructor! I began a comprehensive distance learning programme covering all aspects of the ageing process on physiology and anatomy, and how specific exercises – developed in conjunction with the Healthy Ageing Faculty at Birmingham University – can help to counteract the natural ageing process (and several age-related health conditions). Following an additional two days of Practical Training and Assessment in Birmingham, I qualified as a Move it or Lose it! Instructor and I have never looked back. Pre-Covid, I ran twelve exercise classes a week to a mix of Community, Independent Living, and Carehome clients, and can honestly say that I have never had a more fulfilling career. The classes I run are great fun, lively and social, and are incredibly rewarding – they also help to keep my brain and body fitter and healthier too! For me, this career uniquely combines some fantastic quality of life elements: exercise & fitness, learning & knowledge, and the ability to benefit others – all set to a soundtrack of laughter & music, which science has proven is beneficial for the mind and spirit!
My personal journey with the over 60s hasn’t ended there. Amongst my c100 non-Carehome clients, over time I observed that those who were thriving in their older age were not necessarily those who were the most active or physically the healthiest, but were those who had a generally more positive disposition. That got me thinking more about the effect that the mind could have on the body and quality of life in general. It was therefore my clients who inspired me to think about other ways I could have a positive impact on the ageing population and those who care for them.
So since the beginning of 2020 I have been working towards completing a post-graduate L5 diploma in Positive Psychology with vocational pathways of Coaching, Training and Organisational Facilitation. My specialist area is Positive Ageing – using the science of happiness to thrive in older age. I have also recently embarked on another post-graduate diploma, in Diet & Nutrition, so that I can provide this additional vital element to the ageing population. My mission is to enable those affected by older age to optimally function and ultimately thrive.
So Move it or Lose it! effectively changed my life path and career completely – and definitely for the better. I get so much out of working with my clients, and, although the last twelve months have been challenging for all of us, the support of Move it or Lose it! to their network of Instructors and customers, has been incredible. With the materials, videos and live social media presence they have provided, we have been able to keep in touch with our customers in a practical way, and have been able to support them with exercise and an additional social connection, which we know, has been especially important for those isolated, living alone, or at a distance from family and friends.
If Matt’s story has inspired you, you could change your career and become an exercise instructor for the over 60s!
You can read more about the the FABS Training Programme here.