A village in north Lancashire is leading the way with a pioneering chair-based exercise class run by a 78-year-old volunteer.
Norma Williams, who lives in Caton, has taught exercise classes and carried out volunteering in the past. She began the classes after she attended a chair-based exercise class – and after undertaking Pilates exercises (which are gentle stretches).
She wanted to start a local class so asked people at her usual class whether they would be interested – and all said they would be. She subsequently did some research on the internet and then checked her planned exercise programme with a physiotherapist and two local GPs to ensure she and the participants know they are safe and effective.
The class runs 9am to 10am every Monday morning at the Caton Institute and costs £2 for the class, and people often stay on afterwards for a cup of tea, biscuit and chat for only 80p. The exercises are gentle but interactive – there are stretches, exercises with hand weights, resistance bands and even dusters!
Norma said, “As we get older our needs change, when my health changed I still wanted to exercise so started looking at chair based exercises. They work for me and people tell me they are working for them too.”
Local GPs and community nurses are hugely supportive of this class and people in the Caton area are even looking at using the classes as an alternative or follow onto physiotherapy treatment.
The class now sees on average ten people a week, mostly aged 65 and over, although thanks to its benefits it is now starting to see younger people in their mid-40s too.
Fiona Collins, aged 49 who lives in Brookhouse and attends the classes, said: “I had trouble with my hip and it has really helped my movement range, which in turn helps me with my job.
I work in Caton and wanted to meet more local people. I like being part of something that improves the health of my community.”
Joan Winsby of Caton, aged 82 who also attends added: “The exercises have helped my mobility – which has improved no end. I go home feeling rejuvenated and now find it easier to walk the dog – so he`s happy too!”
Another attendee Joan Halstead of Hornby commented: “After hip and knee replacements it was important for me to keep moving. I enjoy the chair exercises and I do feel better in myself.”
And Brenda Mickle of Wray said: “I come here for the fun and for the exercise – the exercises are definitely working, I had broken my shoulder but the pain has nearly gone because of these brilliant exercises.”
If you would like to find out more about the class you can contact tel: 01524 771196.