Age no barrier for Zumba craze

Release Date: 18-Jul-2011
The latest Zumba craze is a big hit among residents of Walker Street retirement living grange in Thornhill Lees, Dewsbury.
Top L-R: Anne Little, Annie Garforth, Phyllis Oates; bottom Ronnie Becker

Top L-R: Anne Little, Annie Garforth, Phyllis Oates; bottom Ronnie Becker

Zumba is Latin-based dance routine that has recently taken Huddersfield by storm. Energetic, rhythmic and above all fun, the exercise sensation is popular with fitness enthusiasts as well as complete beginners – but it isn’t normally associated with elderly people.

That’s all about to change in Kirklees, with the start of a new project to introduce ‘armchair zumba gold’ to older residents currently being piloted at Walker Street. This is a gentler version of the activity developed for those with limited mobility or who use wheelchairs.

The project has been developed by KNH's Older People’s Support Service and Anne Little, a Zumba teacher and Senior Lecturer in Sports & Health Exercise at the University of Huddersfield, whose research focuses on older adults and ethnic minorities. Anne contacted our partners at Kirklees Active Leisure for help with her research into the benefits of the Moving More Often programme, a programme designed to promote movement in over 50s.

The aim of the sessions is to improve older residents’ health and wellbeing and support them to live their lives to the full.

Cllr Molly Walton, the Cabinet member responsible for health, wellbeing and communities said: “the council is committed to improving older people’s health and wellbeing and this kind of activity is a really innovative way that partners like KNH are helping us do that. It’s a simple idea but one that could make a real difference to our older residents.”

Resident Phyllis Oates, one of ten residents who took part in the session, agreed. She said, “I really enjoyed it. There was a great party atmosphere and everyone was really energized afterwards.”

Aspects of Zumba will be used in future Moving More Often sessions at Walker Street. If successful, the programme will be introduced in other KNH retirement living homes across Kirklees.

If you’d like to find out more about KNH’s Older People’s Service, please ring 01484 416444.