Dance On Strength & Balance: new pilot programme for older adults

Posted: Thu, 25 Jan 2024 10:54

Dance On Strength & Balance: new pilot programme for older adults

A new dance group for over 55s (anyone over the age of 50 are welcome to attend) launched in Doncaster on Monday 22 January, with the aim of improving their strength, balance, and well-being. The sessions are delivered by artists from darts, as part of their popular Dance On programme, supported by Get Doncaster Moving.

The new group will focus more directly on strength and balance, with a view to supporting fall prevention, fall reduction, integration back into the community, combating deconditioning, building confidence, reduction of frailty and increasing social activity. The sessions will be led by qualified postural stability instructors, who will ensure they are as beneficial, inclusive and safe as possible. Participants can join in seated, standing with support or on their feet as much or as little as they feel.

The free 12 week pilot sessions started on Monday 22 January 2024 10.30-11.30am and run weekly until 22 April (with a 2 week Easter break on 1 & 8 April) as a drop in, no pre-booking required. All classes will be held in Woodfield Park Community Hall, Tickhill Road, Doncaster, DN4 8QN.

Each session will include a social time afterwards at 11.30am onwards in the Victorian Tea Rooms at St Catherine's House to foster friendships and to facilitate further activity / connections.

The programme offers a relaxed, inclusive, and social environment whilst also providing:

  • joint mobilisers (like circling wrists)
  • raised cardio (an upbeat boogie or some 'keep fit')
  • balance and strength work (exercises using the chair for support)
  • something to connect everyone (like a simple circle dance or partner work)
  • creativity (using props, imagination, or visualisation)
  • stretches (to extend muscles we may not use every day), and
  • breath work (to focus on ourselves).

The classes are flexible and tailored to the abilities of the participants and are therefore, beneficial to everyone and a chance for all to take part whether that be standing up with or without support, or sitting down.

It is definitely a fun and happy group, and it is clear why so many people have joined the Dance On programme to date, with many attending for 5 or 6 years now!

Anyone over the age of 50 can be signposted to the programme, and the qualified team will work with individuals to assess their ability and expectations prior to starting a programme, so they feel safe and confident with the group throughout. The team will also work with individuals to establish the most appropriate programme within Dance On, and the location for them to attend.

A free 'taster' session of this programme was held by darts on 8 January, inviting health and care staff and professionals from across Doncaster to attend and find out how the classes are run and how they can benefit our communities. Charlotte Armitage & Alexandra Mettam, both Dance Artists and Postural Stability Instructors led the session, with Amy Smith, Dance Artist supporting them.

The session was well attended with attendees taking part in a 'taster' of what the programme will offer to future participants. The session was lively and fun from start to finish, with the music beat and pace being perfect for the moves in each exercise.

Jackie Gelder, Professional Lead for Physiotherapy, Strategic Falls Lead and AHP Workforce Development Lead for RDaSH, said: "It is a fun and interactive programme!"

Jodie Bridger, Senior Partnerships Manager, Leisure Services for Get Doncaster Moving, said: "Dance On is a great example of how health services, darts, and residents are working together to support more people to get moving in a welcoming, safe and accessible environment, at the heart of Doncaster's communities."

Dr David Crichton, local GP and Chief Medical Officer for NHS South Yorkshire ICB, said: "All exercise is good for you and dancing can be a fun way to stay fit for people of all ages and can improve muscle, strength and endurance. It also has a wide range of mental wellbeing benefits by improving mood and reducing anxiety. The Dance On programme is also a great way to meet new friends"

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