Elevate Success

Classes to help maintain balance and strength are a big success

A new series of exercise classes to help older people across Shropshire maintain their independence and mobility in later life have been a huge success.

Active partnership Energize was commissioned last year by Shropshire Council to deliver the project – known now as Elevate – and has recruited and trained an experienced network of instructors.

They are now looking to expand the programme even further, and are particularly looking for more people in Shrewsbury, Oswestry, Whitchurch, Bridgnorth, Church Stretton, Pontesbury and the Clun Valley.

The Elevate classes are aimed at people aged 60 and above who are keen to improve their strength and balance in a friendly, social environment.

Elevate project officer Christina Morgan explains: “These are specialist exercise classes delivered by a team of experts who have been trained in ‘postural stability’ which is evidenced to improve strength and stability in older people.

“Since we started delivering the classes late in 2018, over 400 people have taken part in 40 different classes across Shropshire.

“Initially we were surprised by the huge interest in these classes and happy that we were able to support so many people not only to improve their strength and balance but also to build their confidence and make friendships.

“The sessions have also seen improvements in everyday activities that were previously a challenge.

“Participants have been able to enjoy socialising more, taken up gardening again, reach into bottom cupboards comfortably, get in and out of the bath safely and confidently playing with grandchildren on the floor.”

One group, led by instructor Dan Lewis, arranged their own pub lunch following their final session. They told how the sessions had benefited them both physically and mentally and felt that the ‘gentle progression’ had helped them build their strength and confidence.

Director of public health for Shropshire, Rachel Robinson added: “We are absolutely delighted with the progress of the Elevate project. It is a critical part of our health and well-being strategy to have preventative initiatives in place for people across Shropshire to access.

“These classes provide a great opportunity for older people to remain active and maintain independence, whilst at the same time making new friends.”

Classes take place over 20 weeks, with each one lasting 90 minutes – allowing 50 minutes for exercise and then plenty of time for social time with the instructor and other participants.

If you are interested in finding out more, or have a relative or friend who this may be relevant for, please do get in touch. Whilst the project is subsidised by Shropshire Council to £4 per class, residents outside of that area can still enquire to attend.

For more details, visit http://www.energizestw.org.uk/elevate/, email christina.morgan@energizestw.org.uk or call the Energize team on 01743 297194.

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