Today’s spotlight focuses on Kim, a Move it Or Lose it instructor based in Herne Bay, Kent.
We interviewed her about her life, her journey with Move it or Lose it and why she thinks its a wonderful modality for physical and mental wellbeing.
– What is Move it Or Lose it? –
Move it or Lose it! Has been going since 2010, when it was set up by Julie Robinson, an award-winning instructor and fitness expert. We offer gentle, light-hearted exercises aimed at the 60+ age group with the aim of improving general health and well-being and hopefully turning back the ‘ageing clock’ by up to 10 years! A typical FABS class will cover Flexibility, Aerobic, Balance and Strength using exercises to music which can be done seated, standing or with chair support. We use equipment such as resistance bands, light hand weights and balls and a typical class will usually include games to challenge mental agility and hand/eye co-ordination.
1. Why were you drawn to Move It or Lose It! Initially?
In the winter/spring of 2019 I was marathon training and using my 10 mile journey to work as an early morning training run. I would set off at 6.30 in the morning to arrive around 8 which gave me plenty of time to think about how much I hated the desk job which I had been doing for 20 years! I had some experience as an aerobics instructor back in the 1980s and am now a keen runner. I have always enjoyed encouraging and motivating people as they begin their running journey and devised a programme similar to Couch to 5k which I deliver once a year for 10 weeks at my local parkrun. I call it Park Bench to parkrun and it is always really popular. My mum, who began running at the age of 78 (!) comes to the same classes I go to at my local gym but was becoming frustrated at finding some of the exercises too strenuous – she hates a burpee! She does Pilates but really enjoys a class which is fun, as well as challenging. I have harboured an ambition to be a fitness instructor all my life, but as I am now in my late 50s I felt it was possibly a bit late in the day to train as a PT. I looked for something where I could qualify relatively quickly and found Move it or Lose it!
2. How did you start to practice exercise regularly? What effect did it have on your life?
I enjoyed sport at school, started doing aerobics in the early 1980s Jane Fonda days and then took up yoga when my children were small. When we moved out of London to live by the sea I started running and am now a keen park runner and enjoy all distances. I have done a couple of marathons but 10k or 10 mile is probably my favourite distance. I also love swimming and cycling although triathlon doesn’t really appeal as I don’t think I could cope with the transitions – I was always the last to get changed in PE! As well as the physical benefits of regular exercise, the social side is of huge importance to me. I have made so many great friends, particularly through running and there is nothing like the camaraderie of a ‘chat-run’ with a friend, or celebrating after a race with a whole bunch of sweaty mates…
3. How did your mind and body change when you started a regular practice?
That’s hard to answer as I have always exercised regularly, so my body has always been strong and fairly lean. I’ve put on a few pounds during lockdown which is distressing, but haven’t we all??? Mentally, I can’t tell you how important I feel regular exercise is. My kids laugh at me for recommending ‘fresh air and exercise’ to be the cure for all ills, but I strongly believe it to be the case. I definitely experience ‘runners high’ once the endorphins kick in and a run first thing in the morning is the perfect start to the day. I love the focus of yoga – I will get immersed in a pose and enjoy tweaking my balance and posture until it feels right. Also, a tricky step class, or a dance class, where you can’t think of anything else for an hour is a great escape from life’s cares and woes.
4. When did you decide to start facilitating Move It or Lose It classes for others?
The online training took a couple of months to complete and then my final assessment was in April 2019. I resigned from my job (big step) in June but then it took me a little while to pluck up the courage to book a hall and present a class! I was lucky that I chose a hall very near where I live and did a leaflet drop. My first class, in September was attended by my mum, and quite a few of my neighbours!
5. How does Move It or Lose It! benefit mental and physical wellbeing?
The age range at my classes goes from a couple of people who are only just 60 up to some who are well into their 90s! Some with MS, Parkinsons, COPD etc as well as several who are hard of hearing, so you can imagine that offering a class to suit all of the levels of fitness can be a challenge. We devise the exercises so that they can be undertaken seated, standing or with chair support and take care to offer options to progress the exercise – for instance by adding in a small jump at the end of a march, or to make it easier by slowing down, using less weight, smaller range of movement etc.
The benefit to mental wellbeing is extraordinary. I have quite a few participants who have been encouraged to come to me after a bereavement. Quite often this person will have had many months of relative isolation if their partner had been ill for a long time. The chance to spend an hour with like-minded people in a light-hearted environment has proved to be a lifeline. Friendships have formed and some of them go off for coffee together after the class. Personally, I get so much enjoyment from seeing people having fun together. I come home feeling like i’ve been to a party!
6. What would you say the 3 main barriers are to people wishing to attend classes? What would you recommend for them to overcome it?
I would say that the main barriers to attending classes are injury, lack of confidence, and timing.
I have spoken to many people who want to come but say they are currently ill or injured and will come when they are better. Once they have joined the class they realise that regular exercise not only helps to ease many aches and pains, but also that being stronger and fitter will help prevent injuries. If people have a chronic physical condition, we can usually take it into account and adapt the exercises accordingly.
Many people, especially if they haven’t taken much exercise in the past , are worried that they won’t be fit enough or might show themselves up. They may feel embarrassed about being overweight. Again, regular exercise will build strength and burn calories.
The timing of classes is quite important. I don’t do any classes in the evenings as many older people don’t want to be out in the dark. Also many grandparents help with the school run so I try and avoid those times.
Classes are designed to be fun and a safe space to try something new. The 1st class is free, so you might as well give it a try!
7. Do you recommend people practice any other modalities or do anything else that is positive for mental and physical wellbeing, to complement Move It or Lose It! classes?
I don’t recommend other activities such as yoga or pilates as I am always asked for personal recommendations which I am reluctant to give. Also, I am not qualified in physiotherapy or a personal trainer. It’s not easy for the older age group to find a class which fulfills their particular needs. A Move it or Lose it! Class is paced so that there is time between exercises to recover and offers an overall workout for the whole body – and mind. When people have specific limitations a more general class such as yoga, pilates or Zumba Gold may not cater to their needs. Sticking to the Move it or Lose it structure, works wonders for many.
8. What would you recommend for people looking to start Move It or Lose It! classes, but don’t know where to start?
If you visit moveitorloseit.co.uk there is a ‘Class Finder’ button which will direct you to your nearest class. At the moment, all classes are online and you can request a list of online classes and find one that suits you. Obviously, with online classes you are not limited geographically. Since lockdown started a year ago I have been making videos and doing live sessions on my facebook page: facebook.com/moveitorloseitwithkim We have recently switched to Zoom as so many of the people in my target group are suspicious of facebook. I still do a short ‘circuit’ session on Thursday mornings for those that don’t like Zoom.
– Overcoming Lockdown Challenges –
Lockdown has presented many challenges . I had not been operating for very long when we had to stop classes, so my pool of contacts was relatively small. Doing the free sessions on Facebook enabled me to stay in contact with my existing clientele as well as allowing me to pick up some new followers. In order to keep my classes fresh I have produced dozens of new exercise routines. In the summer, we were permitted to run small, outdoor classes which were received with huge enthusiasm. We used the gardens behind the church halls where I hold my normal classes as well as a lovely cricket pitch whose manager kindly let us use the grounds. We wouldn’t have wanted to use public parks as we needed some privacy, and also we make quite a lot of noise! We had a month or so back inside in October before the 2nd lockdown and again I managed to get my classes up and running. I have been so impressed with the way my clientele have responded to the challenges of last year. I have found their resilience and willingness to adapt to be a revelation!
Thank you so much Kim, for being in the Spotlight today!
To find our more about Kim, her classes and the services she offers, head over to her facebook page.
About The author:
Aimee is a Yoga, Meditation and Move It or Lose It! teacher in located in Middlesbrough, England, UK.
To find out more, visit www.amalateesside.com