Who are our class members?
I got 100% in the exam for the ‘knowing your clients’ module.
But, who are they?
Yesterday a beloved class member passed away.
Who was she?
Was she a name on a list?
Was she a tick on the register?
Was she a medical history engraved in the mind?
She was our friend.
Class members are more than a name, a form and a tick.
They are the sound of their voice, the way they hum and sing along.
They are the teaching point you give ‘just for them’.
They are the chair they sit on, their place in the room.
They are the good afternoon and thank you.
They are the kind smile and the frown of concentration.
They are the song you play because it makes them smile.
They are a special combination of movements because they enjoy them.
They are the wink, the nod, the ‘follow this lady as she knows what she is doing’.
They are a name on the Christmas card.
They are the class.
Being part of a class isn’t just being in the space as everyone else.
It isn’t about being in time with the music.
They are not just a name on a piece of paper or a safe to exercise form.
Being part of the class is being part of the chemistry,
They are the cement that holds the class together
The ingredient that makes it special and unique.
They thank us for a good class and we say thank you to them.
BUT, they are not ‘them’ they are people with names, stories, jokes, smiles, quirks and sense of humours.
Without our class members we would be nothing.
They shape and mould us.
There have been many reports and reviews about why people exercise and the benefits of keeping physically active.
One of the latest reports, 'Me, Not My Age or Impairment - Get Out Get Active' explains why ladies find it difficult to take the first steps and while reading it I found myself ticking off a virtual list of positive benefits of my classes.
People say they missed their more active lives prior to their life limiting health condition or impairment. At EXTEND we work round health issues, we have been complimented on the fact that we are one of the few organisations that works with the person and not the condition. A person is exactly the same person after a diagnosis and the last thing they want is someone wrapping them up in cotton wool reminding them that they are ill! EXTEND and Medau classes work round aches and pains and with a ‘can do attitude’ the class is often just what people are looking for and what the doctor ordered.
They say ‘a class for older adults, isn’t that a bit slow or boring?' No, not if you are mobilising the whole body, working every joint to your maximum and laughing at the same time. I have heard so many people say, ‘oh I can move my shoulders’ ‘my knees are less stiff’ and yes one lady did tell me that she could play the piano again!
Ladies say they do not go to classes because they have a fear of being judged – at EXTEND and Medau there is no possibility of this as the class is not competitive, everyone is looking at me and not each other and we all make mistakes and laugh at them!
So, pop along and give a class ago as you will not know if it is your thing until you try it- and the first class is always free.
The weather is grey and we all want to snuggle down until the sun shines, but did you know that getting up, having a potter about the house or just wandering down the garden to listen to the birds is good for you?
Those people with the latest Fitbit jump up every hour to 'do 250 steps' and then do a relaxing deep breathing exercise to help reduce stress. I must own up to having a 'wearable device' and was pleasantly surprised to see that on Monday 14th January my EXTEND warm up logged 11 minutes of aerobic activity (yep- an EXTEND 'gentle exercise' class) and then on 16th January my Medau class logged a massive 55 minutes aerobic activity.
A recent study showed that exercising standing up helps with balance and that exercises done while standing up 'enhances balance and the ability to do daily activities such as standing up from a low chair or climbing stairs.' The study used Tai Chi but in class we move around the hall in all directions, wave our arms , we stand on one leg and move our feet at a speed somewhat faster than we would out in the street.
But what does it all mean in every-day life? It means that we have to be aware - and mindful- of what physical activity we are doing and how long we are sitting. Something as simple standing up and walking from one room to another, down the garden, up the stairs during the adverts or standing on one leg when doing the washing up is more than some people might do. Poke your nose outside and take some deep, clean breaths and listen to the birds. Go the long way round or take the manageable hill instead of the flat path. Listen to your body, don't go mad but just do a bit more.
Keeping physically active is a bit like having a healthy, broad and balanced diet. Enjoy a little bit of everything so you do not feel deprived but you will be able to see then benefits. We can all do more at home, but EXTEND or Medau can be one of your 5-a-day and it will register on your Fitbit or other wearable device and keep the doctor happy!
And so, to some exciting news, EXTEND is now a member of ukactive, an organisation that ‘exists to improve the health of the nation by getting more people, more active, more often. ukactive provides services and facilitates partnerships for a broad range of organisations, all of which support our vision and have a role to play in achieving that goal.’
Exercise With Tracy
EXTEND Exercise and Medau Movement teacher. Keeping the muscles working, the joints mobile and having fun!