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Dance Proving to be an Elixir for Lifelong Well Being

Dance is emerging as therapeutic when it comes to staving off the mental and physical ravages of aging with research demonstrating the benefits for older people with mobility issues.

Luckily, it is also the simplest… and the cheapest. All you need is a clear space, some inspirational music and the ability to move around to it, even with walking aids.

Even better than dancing in the privacy of your own home, however, is finding a local dance class to attend, where you can be introduced to different steps and styles at an appropriate level, as well as make new friends.

A weekly class in the Gympie Apex Hall run by the bubbly dance teacher Gail Hewton has been seeing the invigorating effects on its participants.

Gail’s gentle and enthusiastic cajoling has seen the 60- and 70-somethings in the class attempting a range of dance styles including jazz, folk, ballroom, latin and musical theatre.

“Gail’s personality motivates us to greater achievements,” said one participant.

It is clear that Gail’s choice of music – from popular tunes of the 50s and 60s, classical, country and many others – and her step-by-step instructions provides equal measures of fun, challenge and achievement for the class participants who have a range of conditions.

“What I like most about class is Gail’s joy, the music and the clever moves to match the music. My balance and agility is improving as is my coordination and I’m less stiff,” said a participant who has Parkinson’s Disease.

The class is specially designed for people with mobility issues as a result of conditions such as Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis, stroke, etc, or less mobility from aging as a result of arthritis, osteoporosis, reduced joint mobility or less muscle strength and flexibility, weight issues, and joint replacements, etc.

“The classes are carefully planned to be fun, social and beneficial for overall well being, and are about possibilities not limitations with options to dance seated, standing or holding on to something such as a cane, walker, behind a chair – the emphasis is on what you can do, not what you can’t!” said Gail who has over 30 years professional dance experience.

Whilst focused first and foremost on dancing the classes address concerns such as balance, flexibility, coordination, mobility, confidence, brain stimulation, social isolation, and general quality of life in a fun and supportive environment.

“I just enjoy it! Everyone is so friendly. The exercise is doing me a lot of good. It frees my muscles and I feel great for the rest of the day,” said another participant.

“I love to see them improving week by week and enjoying themselves, there is lots of smiling and laughter,’ said Gail who specialises in dance for older people.

‘I don’t believe in people saying they are too old to dance or that they can’t dance,’ she adds. ‘You are never too old to learn something new, no previous dance experience is necessary – dance is possible for everyone. I want to change people’s lives through what I do.’

Classes resume on 3 February and are held every Wednesday 10.15am-11.30am at the Apex Hall, 11 Red Hill Road, Gympie. For more information or to register your interest in joining the class contact Gail on 5412 2785 or gailphil@optusnet.com.au

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