A year ago today we were preparing to start classes again.
We didn't know how long we would be back, but that didn't matter- we were determined to be in our halls for our class participants.
We had hand sanitiser, masks, social distancing, registers and opened windows...plus music, smiles, laugher, 'almost hugs' and friendship.
Never before has the weekly class been so important and what we do is appreciated more than ever.
It is so good to be back- the smiles, the music, the laughter, and friendship that you find at. Class is second to none!
As more people are embracing the new normal, feeling brave and venturing out, so I see new friendships grow and those separated by the restrictions re-kindled.
People are eventing out not just for exercise- but for company and to escape their 4 walls.
I have always known that my classes were important for mental wellbeing, it took a pandemic for the rest of the world to realise just how important movement, dance and exercise is- from the leisure centre gyms to niche classes in church halls, from Saturday ballet to tea dances, for the elite and everyday ordinary people.
This week, I was given a piece of advice – that the good days should be greater than the bad- that as long as you are having more good days than bad, they you are on the right path. I hope that my classes have helped create good days for my class participants as I feel better knowing I have helped them to feel physically better.
Birthdays are even more important when you have a class of lovely ladies to share them with.
I am very lucky to be able to share my birthdays with a group of ladies I have known since I was a child- and through sharing chocolates, I discovered that I have a birthday 'twin' in my class'.
A small piece of chocolate wrapped in shiny paper isn't just sweet on the tongue- it was a water cooler moment as we share tales of our favourites, who we save the purple ones for, lost fillings and creating collages from wrapping papers at youth club.
Quality Street finds their ways into family celebrations, festivals and are tucked away at the back of the drawer for a rainy day. Mini Celebrations are perfect reminders of the chocolate bars the doctors tell us we can no longer have.
Birthdays are more than cards – they are hugs, shared sweets and a reminder that being in class is more than exercise- it is a family- a circle of friends with who to share special days and sweet treats.
And so ever so slowly the seasons are beginning to change. I can see the autumnal colours emerging on the leaves of the trees and the flowers in the garden are giving me a final burst of colour.
After two weeks away from class, a belated summer break, we can concentrate on regaining and maintaining the remaining strength and balance that slipped away from us during Lockdown.
I am ever so aware that when ‘walking indoors’ the stride is shortened and by the time you have taken 3 or 4 good paces you have reached your destination. I am also very aware that people are anxious about their balance and post Lockdown this is the one thing that class participants have spoken to me about is balance.
In class we shift our position from one leg to another- transferring our weight from one foot to another.
What about standing on one leg?
When we do a knee swing or hip swing we are standing on one leg but we may not think about our balance as the working leg is a distraction. The supporting leg is working hard with the body to stop us from falling over. A recent report highlights the need to practice balance, as the more physically active we are the more likely we are to have good balance. So, as you walk up the stairs, turn to reach the kettle, go onto tippy toes to get a mug or reach deep into a cupboard- you are testing your balance- and don’t forget try to stand on one leg a few times each day - waiting for the kettle to boil is a good one- but please stand on both feet when pouring it out!
New report shines a light on the social value of movement and dance to the UK.
People attend a movement and dance class because they feel the benefits- not only moving the body but the laugher and smiles, feeling good and being with and making new friends and having time to be themselves.
This report describes what teachers and class participants know to be true - an illustration of the celebration of dance.
PS I didn’t write the acknowledgements!
For many today is the day when life returns to as near normal as possible.
Restaurants can think about how they can recoup a year of loss and theatres can open to full capacity. Some will cast their facemarks to one side, others will remain more vigilant.
For more information on how we will work in class please pop along to 'The New Normal'.
It is up to each of us to play our part in helping keep the nation fit and well, and that means doing all we can to help others feel and stay safe while we are out and about, home, away and in class.
This beings me very nicely to summer classes.
There will be classes through the summer as below. If you want to attend please let me know via the usual methods!
Stay safe- and remember to keep hydrated.
Monday EXTEND at the Southgate Methodist Church: classes on 26th, July. 2nd August, 16th August and 23rd August. NO CLASS on Monday 9th August.
Tuesday EXTEND at Grange Park: classes on 27th July, 3rd August, 17th August and 24th August. NO CLASS on Tuesday 10th August.
Wednesday at Freston Gardens and Elm Court: Classes on 28th July, 4th August, 18th August and 25th August. NO CLASS on Wednesday 11th August.
Please note: ELM COURT CLASSES on 28th July, 4th August, 18th August and 25th August will be 3.15-4.30.
We are an hour later to accommodate a summer scheme at the centre.
Exercise With Tracy
EXTEND Exercise and Medau Movement teacher. Keeping the muscles working, the joints mobile and having fun!