Positive Movement

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The latest intervention developed by the team at the Centre is called Positive Movement, a programme designed for older people, for anyone who is frail and/or at risk of falls, for those who experience mobility issues or a physical disability, for people living with a limiting long-term illness and for carers.

Positive Movement is based upon a form of Yoga (called “Adaptive Yoga”) developed in America especially for people whose disability prevent them from experiencing the benefits which can be derived from traditional Yoga postures.  We have integrated this technique with the principles of the Alexander Technique – an approach that teaches people how to make changes in posture and simple movements so as to minimize pain and chronic muscle strain – which we have used with groups of older people for several decades with great success. The basis of the programme was developed with the aid of funding provided by Comic Relief and Hertfordshire Community Foundation with the participation of local older people themselves; the Big Lottery then funded the programme design and the training of the qualified Yoga teachers who now deliver Positive Movement in the community. A pilot ran in 15 community venues in North Herts and Stevenage earlier in the year and following its success we have now received funding from the Community Wellbeing team at Hertfordshire County Council to enable us extend this to the rest of Hertfordshire.

Please click here for a full list of our Positive Movement sessions available in Hertfordshire

Positive Movement celebrates what people can achieve despite significant health issues, mobility problems or if they are hesitant about participating in any physical activity.

Participants, in small groups of about 10 people, learn techniques for improving and maintaining strength, flexibility, balance and co-ordination (thus helping to prevent falls) and have an opportunity, immediately following the structured class session, to meet new people and socialise over a cup of tea with their peers.
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“It’s been a wonderful experience. Camaraderie is lovely.” Annie

Positive Movement tutors are all highly qualified, experienced Yoga teachers who have undertaken an extensive training programme designed and delivered by our Positive Movement trainers.

Some of the benefits from participating in Positive Movement are:

  • Feelings of social isolation and loneliness are reduced by encouraging participation, getting people out of their home and helping them to remain connected with their community or to make new friends
  • General health, wellbeing and fitness improve: Positive Movement increases physical activity levels and helps participants to maintain balance, flexibility and co-ordination (all vital in order to avoid falls)
  • Quality of life is improved as participants learn new coping mechanisms to help manage their pain, anxiety and benefit from  enhanced psychological wellbeing
  • Individual resilience is boosted: participants report being capable to doing more for themselves and therefore are likely to remain independent for longer
  • Participants are empowered to manage their health and wellbeing better and more safely, decrease their reliance on medication and in turn this helps to ease the pressure on our health and social care services

What participants have said about Positive Movement:

“Before I started Positive Movement I had back pain, and I walked hunched over. I now walk straight and correct my posture. I’ve learnt to look forward and focus in front. The tutor was very patient, helpful, and clear in how we should do things. This has made such a massive difference to my life, and health. My coughing has reduced and I am now able to regulate my breathing, it has helped such a lot. My husband comments he has never seen me with such energy! I looked forward to the classes every week; my confidence has improved so much I’ve even started line dancing!”
Maggie, 81

“I had a fall before starting the programme and was quite cautious about moving, as it was painful. Positive Movement gave me the confidence to move again without fearing pain – things like getting dressed etc. became possible once again without painful twinges and I now get out and socialise a lot more.”
Louise, 72

“I am very pleased with Positive Movement and the ideas behind it. It gets me out of the house, and brings people together. I can see others and myself improving week on week. Lots of older people have mobility issues and are lonely and could benefit from this programme.”
Bob, 68

“I am 85 years old and use a wheelchair. I find Positive Movement has helped me to maintain my flexibility and fitness, and my balance is improving because of the exercise I have done. I liked the class sizes being small, as this enables the tutor to give focussed individual attention, which I feel is important.”
Josie, 85

“It’s been a wonderful experience. Camaraderie is lovely. Exercise is so very important for our age group, and anything that gets us oldies moving is good. Using Positive Movement is a positive way forward in achieving that goal. I thoroughly enjoy it.”
Annie, 69

“This programme is very good, the tutor is excellent and I feel it is of benefit to me. It has really helped my rheumatism, my back and my posture in general. I now feel much more confident and able to garden, move and stretch. My general confidence when out and about has also improved greatly.”
Brian, 83

“My fear of falling has lessened because I am more aware of how I stand, sit, lean and so on. It also makes me more aware that I am not the only person with movement problems, and it is so good to get out and meet other people. The weekly sessions give me a focus to get out and do something, and as a result i have signed up for an additional group activity. Absolutely fantastic, would thoroughly recommend it.”
Shirley, 76

“When I leave the Positive Movement sessions I feel as if I am floating on air! I have bad ankles and the exercises have helped enormously. I also have pain in my ribs following cancer treatment and the breathing exercises have helped me a lot to reduce the pain that I experience. It’s a lovely group and I really feel the benefit. In my opinion the psychological benefits are just as important as the physical ones because if you feel well, relaxed, not stressed, you are less likely to feel ill physically.”
Joyce, 70

Positive Movement was initially developed by funding from Comic Relief / Hertfordshire Community Foundation. The programme design and training of Yoga tutors (two cohorts) has been funded by The Big Lottery. Hertfordshire County Council funded our initial pilot in North Herts & Stevenage. The Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation is currently funding a series of continuation classes in Letchworth, while Stevenage Community Trust has just agreed to fund follow-on classes in Stevenage.  Hertfordshire County Council is funding an extensive pilot across East, West and South Herts. As a charity we ourselves are supporting further classes in North Herts (outside of Letchworth). Our grateful thanks go to all funders for their encouragement and support.

For further information about the programme, or if a family member, friend, patient or client wishes to join a Positive Movement class, please email: positivemovement@letchworthcentre.org or call the team on 01462 678804.

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