Over 300 people from all corners of Hampshire came together in Andover to set a new record for the largest seated exercise class in the UK.
The new record was set at Andover Leisure Centre on International Day of the Older Person and shows that almost everyone can do a little bit of exercise, even if they can’t move far from their chair.
Seated exercises help older people, and other people who are frail, build strength and improve mobility. And it can be fun too.
Gordon Page, aged 84 from Andover, has been going to ‘Steady and Strong’ seated exercise classes for five years and took his seat in the attempt full of confidence.
He said: “I couldn’t walk 300 yards but with the classes help and the exercises I saw improvements each time I went. That was five years ago and I still go now. I really enjoyed the day and it was great to see so many of us all together, the camaraderie between us all was one of the best parts!”
Representatives from Public Health England, NHS England and The Mayor of Test Valley, councillor Iris Andersen all attended the event adding their backing to the importance of remaining active as we age.
Sports students and health and social care students from Andover College helped marshal the event as well as handing out the all important tea and cakes afterwards.
One of the organisers, Adi Phillips, Falls Prevention Co-ordinator with Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust said: “We wanted people, old and young, to understand that just because you age doesn’t mean you should stop being active.
“Physical activity is essential in older age to help reduce frailty, prevent falls and increase mobility and independence. Active people are more likely to have better moods, be less anxious, have better memory, sleep better and have more social contacts.”
Liz Murray, Community Development Manager with Valley Leisure, who also helped organise the record breaking event, said: “Valley Leisure is really proud of all the Steady and Strong classes that we run for older people of all abilities which is why we were so keen to be involved in the record attempt.
“Seeing so many people come together to raise awareness was inspiring and hopefully it will inspire more people to get involved and join their local Steady and Strong class.”
For more information about the Steady and Strong classes call Andover Leisure Centre on 01264 347100, or pop into the centre and ask for Laura Thomson.