[Guest blog] Stay active as you age – try exercise classes with a twist!

Fit for Life Project Manager, Age UK Enfield
06 April 2017

As you move into retirement, you may think it’s time to slow down, take it easy and put your feet up. Although adequate rest is important, keeping active into older age is essential to help keep mobile, and reduce your risk of developing long-term health conditions.

As a Fit for Life Project Manager, it’s my job to help older people see that exercise can be great fun, as well as a physical health benefit. Here, I’ve described three exercises classes that I run within my community and the benefits they can have. Why not see if there are any of these, or similar classes, near you?

an older couple dancing outside

Line dancing

Whatever you’ve previously heard about line dancing, put those thoughts aside.  In this class, we dance to music from all genres, including rock, pop, Latin, Irish and country.

Line dancing is a great way to get fit, keep your mind active, and improve coordination and balance. You don't need a partner, so it's great for meeting people and making new friends. It’s not only beneficial for your physical health but it’s also good for your mental health and improves social communication.

Don’t be afraid if you’ve never line danced. Anybody can do it as it’s mildly energetic and the steps are easy to learn. The more you attend, the more skills you’ll develop and the quicker you’ll progress. You’ll soon be able to enjoy dancing to a whole range of line dance routines from your first lesson.

Zumba

Zumba is a very dynamic and exciting exercise class, full of Latin and exotic music flavours. The routines feature a combination of fast and slow rhythms that help tone and sculpt your body, as well as get your heart pumping. It targets areas such as your bottom, legs, arms and abdominals, and is suitable whatever your age.

Zumba involves doing easy-to-follow dance steps. The explosive Latin rhythms create a party-like atmosphere, adding a ‘feel good’ factor to your workout. 

Fitsteps

Fitsteps is a unique dance fitness programme, produced by Strictly Come Dancing stars, Ian Waite and Natalie Lowe, along with World Champion swimmer, Mark Foster.

It combines some of the best known and most popular Latin and Ballroom dances, and is easy to learn and fun to do. Fitsteps provides an all-body workout with energetic moves from the Jive, Cha Cha and Samba, to raise your heart rate. Meanwhile, a range of slower movements and postures from the Waltz and the Rumba use muscular strength to tone your torso, arms and legs.

Look in your area

There are line dancing, Zumba and Fitsteps classes all over the country, as well as many other fitness classes for all age ranges and abilities. Don’t let retirement lull you into a sedentary life – keep active to remain fit, healthy and full of energy. If you struggle with motivation or confidence, team up with a friend to attend a class or see if a family member will join you.



Age UK Enfield logo

Age UK Enfield has been offering services to older people aged 50 and over in the London Borough of Enfield since 1985. It operates services across the borough ranging from day care to exercise classes in community-based settings. Its ethos and aim is to provide as many services and activities as possible that meet the needs of the growing local older population.

Age UK Enfield is a recent grant recipient from the Bupa UK Foundation. The Foundation funds practical projects that will make a direct impact on people's health and wellbeing. Launched in 2015, to date it has awarded over £1 million in grants to 36 projects across the UK, supporting work to improve people’s mental health and to support carers.

Mark Huggard
Fit for Life Project Manager, Age UK Enfield

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