Dates for your diaries!
Monday EXTEND resumes 14th January
Tuesday EXTEND resumes 15th January
Medau on Wednesday resumes on 16th January
'Thank you' said a lady, 'because of you I can now make a fist with my hands and my fingers are more flexible'
So what you might wonder, well when you are 80+ and want to remain independent it is really important that you can hold a bread knife, peg put the washing, grasp a frying pan or draw the curtains in the evening and first thing in the morning.
Exercises for the small joints of the hands are often over-looked but they are so very important, as are exercises for the small joints of the feet. How would you manage day-to-day with stiff feet and hands that did not want to do up buttons, grasp zips or hold a cup of tea?
Exercise isn't just about increasing your steps or cardio vascular output, it isn't always about lifting heavier weights or doing more reps - it is working on the small things like turning the shoulder to get the arm in the coat, reaching down to scratch the itch, being able to find your shoe with your foot or having enough mobility in your shoulders to brush your hair.
That lady made me feel very proud, as proud as an Olympic coach whose athlete had won gold. Every week the ladies at Southgate and Highlands as well as the happy group at Kenton Jewish Care, make me smile and realise just how lucky we all are that in 1976 a group of idealistic teachers created EXTEND Exercise.
A Christmas playlist is as unique as the people in the class and this year my last 3 classes of term have been very special.
The ladies on Monday and Tuesday were in fine form and today at Medau the gymnastic ribbons lifted our spirits and by the smiles on everyone’s faces you might have thought it was Christmas morning!
Christmas is a time for families and friends. Each year, at the EXTEND class we share mince pies and we make a toast to a festive Christmas and a good new year and then we toast our absent friends. We pause, remember them, their smiles and favourite songs but knowing they would not want us to be sad, so we raise our eyes, smile and get on with living! That is what the class is all about - being with friends who become family, sharing special times, laughs and stories as well as being there at the not so easy times.
So, as we move towards Christmas, wishing everyone a very festive break, I shall be sharing some prosecco with my daughter, the cooking with my mum and sister and singing along to all the Christmas songs in the shops.
My goodness me, we have jumped from summer into Christmas – or so it seems! Autumnal leaves look so pretty but can make the pavements slippery and then the early morning frost that is attacking the winter bedding and sending shivers down the spine as we crawl out of bed. But there is plenty to look forward to – getting to know the birds as they dance round the bird feeder and scaring away the squirrels.
It seems like yesterday we were complaining about the heat and now, as I watch the ladies peel off their winter coats and put gloves in pockets, I count back the years I have been teaching. This week it is one of my class members 96th birthday and she still walks the mile to and from class! As the years roll on and the seasons pass you can be sure of one thing – the steady and determined power of women who want to stay fit and remain independent.
Dates for your diary
The last week of term is December 11th. The last class of term are:
Bourne: Monday 11th December
Highlands: Tuesday 12th December
Medau Wednesday 13th December.
Classes resume on Monday 14th January.
Tuesday 15th there is no class as it is the Highlands post Christmas lunch and Wednesday 16th there is no class Medau class as it is the Medau post Christmas lunch.
Everyone seems to be thinking about increasing their physical activity.
This time last year 10,000 steps was the ‘in thing’ but now it is all about doing something you enjoy. However, there are still many adults and children who are physically inactive. There are many reasons for this; lack of places to go, the streets are unsafe, the local green space is too far away or the gym doesn’t offer classes at the right time. Not everyone likes the gym, some prefer to walk, cycle or do their own thing on front of the TV.
Inactivity is killing our children and we demand that every child is given the fundamental #RightToBeActive.
80% of girls and 77% of boys are not active enough to stay healthy and one in five children are classified as obese before they reach secondary school.
Sport and recreation can help solve many of the biggest threats facing our children. Making it part of their daily lives will make them healthier and happier.
That is why I am are proud to be supporting the #RightToBeActive campaign and we encourage you to join us.
Please join the S+RA #RightToBeActive campaign http://ow.ly/DZue30m9Kr9
It is their call to government to give every child the fundamental right to be physically active and they are creating a long-term, properly funded and child-focussed strategy to transform the physical and mental wellbeing of our children.Together we can create a better, healthier and happier future for our children.
There is so much in the news and social media about depression and loneliness but yesterday I was reminded that Mondays are to be looked forward to!
I was invited to give a presentation at the Cherry Lodge Cancer well living day. I have never been in a room with so much positive energy. My 30 minute exercise session just whizzed by and the room was buzzing with laugher, singing and happiness.
Roll onto my afternoon EXTEND class and we presented the Enfield Parkinson's Society with a cheque for £210.00 in memory of our dear friend Pat who passed away in April. A Fitness League member (as it was then) and a founder member of the EXTEND class she brought a smile to class even in the dark days when, despite her strongest attempts to keep active, Parkinson's was making life difficult.
In my 18 years of teaching exercise I have seen the reasons for exercise changing. Way back the ladies (yes ladies) used to go to the Women's League of Health and Beauty for exercise but also for female company during the day. With the housework, children and cooking it was 'their time' to be themselves to make friends as well as enjoy the exercise. Roll onto 1976 the one of the main priorities of an EXTEND class was to make friends and maintain a social life.
Somehow, the social value of classes got over looked as exercise became something you did to keep the doctor happy, to prevent illness, for rehab. It became about Stroke rehabilitation, fall prevention, obesity and 10,000 steps!
Social wellness is not a new buzzword, it is something I, like so many other exercise to music teachers, have been doing every week. Just pop along to any class and you will see what I mean - every teacher will complain that it is impossible to start on time as everyone is chatting - and after all- that is what we want!
"National Fitness Day is a chance to highlight the role physical activity plays across the UK, helping us raise awareness of its importance in helping us lead healthier and active lifestyles.
National Fitness Day sees a huge range of activity options enjoyed by participants of all ages, such as ‘plank offs’, yoga and pilates classes, treadmill challenges, high-street HIIT classes, dance-offs, mass walks and many more."
Planks? Treadmill? HIIT? If that is not your thing then try a Medau Movement class - in fact, one lady said my class was perfect for 'ladies of her age' as the gym was intimidating and no one looked like her!
On Wednesday 26th September we will having our usual Medau Movement class at Elm Court. Those who come to class say that they enjoy it as it gets them out of the house, encourages the whole body to move, gets the muscles and the heart working as well as a good place to make friends. At the end of the session we are running (at a gentle dancers pace) the length of the hall without thinking about it!
National Fitness Day is a great day to promote Medau, EXTEND and any other activity that gets you moving. No time for a class? You do not need to go to the gym to work the body - just a few minutes dancing to your favourite songs in the privacy of your own home every day is enough.
Today the BBC led with a story that a 'WHO report estimates that more than a quarter of people worldwide - 1.4 billion - are not doing enough physical exercise, a figure that has barely improved since 2001.'
I am not really surprised that people find it difficult to increase their daily activity - we all found it easier to sit on the sofa rather than walk round the block in the extreme heat of the summer months and soon the chilling winds, rain and frozen pavements will encourage us into winter hibernation. There needs to be signposts to classes and activities that people can relate to - images of people just like them enjoying exercise that they can enjoy. We all enjoy different things and we all have many different 'boxes' to tick.
So, during National Physical Activity week bring a friend to a Medau or EXTEND class and see if it is 'the something' that ticks their 'box' and gives them 60 minutes of physical activity each week!
'Tell me something I didn't already know' is a constant cry of an EXTEND teacher.
Every now and then a new study that reveals that exercise is good for you - especially exercising to music and in a small friendly group.
A recent article in Multiple Sclerosis Today says that researchers reported that “Movements, whether structured (exercise) or unstructured (physical activity) were deemed meaningful and relevant for living life with MS. Also, it was the ability to integrate physical activity in everyday life activities that gave it prominence,” Click here for the full article
Why isn't this a big surprise?
Every EXTEND teacher has someone with an underlying medical condition - it could be MS, Parkinson's, cancer, stroke...but our classes are designed for those with underlying medical conditions, as well as the naturally ageing body (yes- it happens to everyone).
EXTEND teachers are trained to deliver classes that:
We welcome those who find other classes intimidating, too fast or inappropriate.
Exercise With Tracy
EXTEND Exercise and Medau Movement teacher. Keeping the muscles working, the joints mobile and having fun!