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Stratford Press - 2021-06-09

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Class finds the right balance

News

Ilona Hanne

It’s safe to say there are plenty of well-balanced people in Stratford, and that fact is thanks to a weekly exercise class in town. The Steady As You Go (SAYGo) programme is a weekly ongoing, strength and balance exercise programme focused on helping improve balance and muscle strength. Facilitator Sheryll Baskin says the class is not just great for helping improve balance and therefore prevent falls, but also for meeting new people and enjoying a good laugh along with a cup of tea at the end of the session. “It’s a friendly group, we have a laugh and lots of chats as well as doing the exercises and working on improving mobility.” The classes also give participants a good reason to get out of the house each week, she says. “Preventing social isolation is just as important as preventing falls.” When people have a fall, says Sheryll, it can lead to a dramatic change in their everyday life. “People start avoiding going out because they are worried they will fall again. “Sometimes they don’t tell their family members because they are embarrassed or worried their family will see it as a sign they aren’t coping with living where they are anymore.” The classes are a gentle way for participants to gain confidence as well as helping them reduce the likelihood of a fall. The class is open to all, with no restrictions for people who need to use a walker or a wheelchair. “Our class is all inclusive and it doesn’t matter what disabilities you have. We also have visual and hearing impaired participants. Even those in wheelchairs are capable of doing the sitting down exercises and enjoy the cup of tea afterwards.” Jocelyn Benefield says she enjoys coming to the classes. “I’m trying to get my balance and fitness levels back up and this is a nice gentle way to do so. I’m not ready to hit the gym but this is a good step on the journey back to fitness.” Sheryl says the exercises in the class use a lot of muscles. “More than walking for example, so it is a great way to get active.” Jane Gilbert has also been enjoying the classes and says she would recommend them to anyone looking for a friendly group to join. “I’ve been coming for about two years ago and really enjoy it.”

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