'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.
The weather is turning autumn is on the way- or so the weather man says.
With the colder weather we tend to stay indoors and do less - who wants to go walking in the rain?
But, you can, according to the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists, work at home to help maintain your leg strength and balance.
Make sure you have the space, sturdy chair and see if 6 simple exercises do make your legs stronger.
BUT please make sure the area in which you are working is safe - take care with rugs, carpets, cats and dogs...slippers and telephone wires - in other words make sure the area is safe so you will not fall, trip or slip!
Remember, you do these exercises at your own risk.
Better still...why not come to a class where we do all of these exercises each week when you can do so much more than 6 exercises to songs you can sing to! Click HERE to go to the Exercise with Tracy Facebook page to see the video.
The Get Up and Go document has some useful information if anyone is worried about falls and trips
How fit are you? Can you sit and stand?
Leg - and thigh- strength is really important and something we work on in every class. Doing as many sit to stand as possible is great but this video does not take knee replacements, sore hips, back issues or breathing into account. I just tried it on 2 different chairs and got 2 different results! The thing to remember is that thigh strength is important and practicing sit to stand is a valuable exercise.
Why? Well, think about how often (and when) you stand and sit. For meals at home and out, coffee mornings, knitting circle, bridge club or book club? On the bus, in and out of the car, the bath and toilet, hair dressers, doctors surgery, dentist chair.
The video shows lots of people doing this in so many ways, but here is something I have used in class. Remember...if you hurt yourself it is not my fault...only try this if you are 100% sure you can do it, that your knees, hips, back, and breathing can cope without too much effort and you have a sturdy chair that will not slip as you sit and stand!
1) Find a clock with a second hand and make sure you can read it. Your phone has a stopwatch.
2) Push a sturdy chair against a wall (to prevent slippage as you sit and stand) - making sure you can see the clock and the chair is completely safe. Uneven floor? Rugs, carpets? Make sure the cat or dog can't get under your feet. This can be quite strenuous so make sure you have your puffer etc to hand just in case you feel a surge of energy and have an Olympic moment and try to break the world record!
3) Stand with the back of your knees touching the chair so your body knows it is there and sit down.
4) Stand up trying not to 'hover' with straight legs and good posture - do not be tempted to cheat and only go half way!
5) Lower yourself back to sitting, if you need to feel the chair with the tips of your fingers when lowering into sitting then do so, but try not to use your hands to push yourself up. Always end seated.
6) Do a few to get the feeling and then move away for a minute or so to let the muscles do something else for a few minutes.
7) When you feel ready, return to the chair and see how long it takes to do 10...or if you prefer how many you can do in 10 seconds.
If you manage 1 a second you should do 10 but if knee or hip replacements, breathing or heart issues make it difficult then don't worry just see how many you can do.
If your number is a bit low then practice by doing a few every day, walk up some stairs (and down again) to strengthen the muscles in your leg, but don't over do one muscle group, be sure to move in all ways every day.
If you think you need to strengthen the muscles and get a bit fitter and mobile but you do not fancy working wth weights or machines, then a general exercise, whole body movement to music class might tickle your fancy. If you are looking for a class but you are too busy enjoying the summer weather then don't worry, pop these dates in your diary and join us in September.
All classes, except the Monday EXTEND class, resume the second week of September:
No Medau class on Wednesday 19th September.
I hope to see you soon.
It is hot, how do I know? The parks are empty and when I stand in the garden I cannot hear the children playing.
While I miss the classes, the ladies, the singing and fun I am so happy we are on summer break as I know that my class members are only too happy to stay in the relative coolness of their homes rather than venture out to class. You know how it is, the air conditioning in the car only kicks in when you reach your destination. Your bottle of water is not as cold as you would like it and then you get home the house is warm and stuffy as the windows and garden door has been locked shut!
Then there is the matter of sleep deprivation. Just how do you get to sleep when every fibre of your body is telling you to go and stand in front of the open fridge? If you decide to keep the bedroom window open then the street light keeps you awake. Someone suggested putting your pillow in the freezer? Has anyone tried this?
So, what do I do? I put glasses of cold water in the fridge (glasses are easier than jugs) and I run cold water over my wrists and to prevent the ever so elegant condition known as 'cankles' and put my feet up and wait for the temperature to drop.
One thing is for sure, we will all enjoy the rain when it decides to fall!
It was the last Medau class of term and we wafted our way into the summer break with large chiffon shawls (1mx1m).
We are a small and very friendly group in a hall that is big enough for us to move with the apparatus without the chance of meeting someone coming the other way. You can work at your own level and each class is a separate unit of movements that may never be repeated again - in that particular order to that particular piece of music. The class has come to appreciate the aesthetics of the movements and the timing of the music, today one lady said 'I can imagine this being done in a large space by lots of people!'
Some people think you have to be fit to join an exercise class but this Medau class is for anyone and anybody - co-ordination is not required and you can wear whatever you are comfortable in.
There is a full page advert in the local Potters Bar Eye so if you want to add some vibrancy to your week, exercise to music that you know without the heavy bass beat and enjoy moving to music - then give this class a try.
Wishing my Potters Bar friends a very happy summer and I am already looking forwards to seeing you all on Wednesday 12th September.
Today was the last Highlands EXTEND class of the term.
While we will all miss our weekly class, the natter and exercise it is important to have a rest - to do something different so we can return with new enthusiasm, rested bones and new stories to share.
But today there was an added concern. The extreme heat has kept many ladies away and while we all enjoy the sunshine it is simply too hot to exercise the way we want to so the summer break could be seen as a blessing in disguise.
With fond farewells we said good bye, wishing each other sunny days and cooler evenings and looking forward to seeing each other again on Tuesday 11th September.
The Monday EXTEND class remembered a dear class member this afternoon as we raised funds in her memory for the local Parkinson's Society group. It was a packed hall with several people from her FLexercise class who wanted to remember their friend.
Sometimes people try to find a class for a specific condition to ease specific issues but as class members will tell you, the most important thing is to move every joint, in every which way and encourage whole body movement so you feel stretched and worked without feeling exhausted. It does not just keep the doctor happy, but it keeps your joints (big and small) happy as well!
Over the years, as an EXTEND teacher and Course Director, I have arranged talks for teachers (CPD days) on numerous subjects from exercising after a cancer diagnosis to stroke, joint replacements and breathing issues. Without exception, every speaker has praised us as teachers as we adapt the class to those in front of us so that no one feels as if they are a special circumstance. The music is really important as it brings everyone together. There have been many times when we all wish we could bottle the atmosphere as everyone is singing and smiling but it is impossible to write a lesson plan to create a positive, vibrant and friendly atmosphere as it something that happens because the music, exercises and the people come together as friends enjoying a social class.
So, while many will say that their EXTEND class is good for their aching joints, their balance and mobility, they all agree that it does wonders for their social life.
This was the last Monday class of term, but if you want to exercise your bodies, brains and singing voices, then pop Monday 17th September in your diaries!
Wishing you a sunny and happy summer break and if you want to try a class then just email me on
We all agree it is far too hot for anything too strenuous but we adapt our classes so we all remain cool. But, while some people seek the shade it is important to get outside as the sunlight for your daily dose of free Vitamin D.
So, how can you get vitamin D from sunlight without increasing the risk of skin cancer? Have a read here and see how you can get your vitamin D for free.
Also, don't forget to make sure you drink plenty in the hot weather and make sure you are ready to cope with the heat.
We were delighted to welcome Alex from Hertfordshire County Sports Partnership during their This Girl Can campaign as part of their Year of Physical Activity. The Hertfordshire Year of Physical Activity, also known as ‘HertsYOPA18’, it is a year to focus on getting Herts moving. The year will run from 1st January – 31st December 2018 and there are four broad objectives:
1. Increase Physical Activity levels
2. Shift stubborn Inactivity levels
3. Celebrate what’s already happening
4. Encourage new programmes & events
June is very aptly This Girls Can and as Medau is recognised by the This Girl Can Campaign it seemed an ideal opportunity to demonstrate the benefits of Medau and how we help increase physical activity levels without going to the gym or jogging round the park!
I had planned a hoop class, starting with some very simple movements which once mastered were put together to different pieces of music so everyone felt stretched, worked and enjoyed a personal sense of performance and satisfaction. At the end everyone agreed that they had worked but their brains, laughing and smiling muscles as their bodies.
Alex commented on how friendly the class was. This is true of all Medau classes (and my EXTEND classes) as we do not just face the front and copy the teacher, we work with partners and we come together to work as a whole group so everyone feels included.
If you are reading this and have not yet tried a class but think you might fancy giving it a go, then don’t be shy, pop along as the first class is always free.
Exercise With Tracy
EXTEND Exercise and Medau Movement teacher. Keeping the muscles working, the joints mobile and having fun!