Newport pensioners, aged 70 to 104 enjoy Zumba classes
A GROUP of Newport pensioners with a combined age of 1,418 are keeping active with a monthly lesson in the latest exercise craze, Zumba.
Glenmore Residential Home on Stow Hill offers residents two exercise classes a month, including ‘chair Zumba’, a Colombian dance fitness class taught by Abertillery Community Support Officer Jan Woodward.
Ms Woodward, 55, a fully trained Zumba instructor, teaches 16 residents at the home a form of ‘chair Zumba’ which means residents aged from 70 to 104 years old, don’t even need to stand up. At the beginning of the 45-minute session she gives them bells to strap on to their wrists and musical shakers to move to the rhythm of the music.
Ms Woodward’s chair Zumba is specifically designed to meet the needs of the elderly, and the chair workout focuses on using body weight to strengthen, stretch and tone the body.
The playlist includes hip-hop, samba, salsa and bhangra, and the moves include some Bollywood and belly dance moves.
Deputy manager Margaret Jones said: "We like our residents to be up and about doing things. We like to keep them mentally and physically fit, which is why these classes are so great.
"They all really enjoy it. Afterwards we put on tea and homemade cakes by our award-winning chef as a bit of a treat."
Ms Woodward said: "After the Zumba, I put on old-time music and go around the room with a mic and they sing along.
"They absolutely love it. Some of them have Alzheimer’s or dementia, but when they hear the music their faces light up and some of them remember the words and sing along."
During the class she encourages them as they shake their instruments to the beat of the music, and tells them to "shake your booty in your seat!" and "move that waist, work it!"
After the work out, Ms Woodward presented two of the oldest residents, Gwendoline Traynor, who is 105 next month, and Grace Jerry, 104, with prizes for taking part.
She said: "I love doing Zumba with them. The look on their faces throughout is fantastic."
At the end of the session she put on Vera Lynn’s ‘We’ll meet again’ which was greeted with smiles by the residents, who started singing along.
To contact Ms Woodward for Zumba lessons in Gwent, call 07919082125.