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Five gentle exercise tips from Wesley School for Seniors

11 July 2016 Wesley Mission news

Former prima ballerina, Maria, has spent the better part of her 96 years learning and performing dance and now she is pleased to be helping others enjoy a fun healthy life by teaching gentle exercise at the Wesley School for Seniors.



In this video, the latest in our ‘Lifehacks for the Learned’ series, Maria shares her five tips for gentle exercise.

Behind the scenes with Maria, gentle exercise tutor at Wesley School for Seniors.

How did you become an instructor at Wesley School for Seniors? I used to be a prima ballerina and travelled around a bit. I’ve been to London, Sweden, and Paris as a sole dancer and with a partner. Eventually, I ended up here and I’ve been here for 15 years. I even choreograph my own classes.

Why gentle exercise? Like dancing, gentle exercise is all about movement, so I felt I had the authority and the strength to teach it to other people. I enjoy being able to share it with the elder ladies, and younger ladies, even the men.

What do you love most about gentle exercise? I love the variety. People might think I do 10 or 15 minutes of exercise, but it’s a full hour. And that hour is not just one certain thing—it changes. It’s all about movement. Some movements are slow and others are fast. You can even do a lot while sitting on a chair.

How do Wesley School for Seniors students benefit from gentle exercise? Everybody is treated equally and respectfully, everybody is the same. You can still exercise with an injury by avoiding certain types of movements, or if you prefer to sit, you can use a chair. I don’t push students. When they come in to do the class they should enjoy it, not just by being able to do it, but they should really enjoy it. Usually, they all come back for the next class.

What do you enjoy most about teaching at Wesley School for Seniors? My favourite thing is to be able to come in every week and exercise for an hour. That’s the main thing, that’s what I’m here for, to help all the people, to show them how they can exercise.

Looking for more life hacks? 

You’ll find more helpful tips and inspiration for finding the fun in life in these videos from our ‘Lifehacks for the Learned’ series.

Sequence dance with Francisco
Table tennis with Hazel
Tai chi with Leonore 
Yoga with Jo