Havering Parkinson’s charity first to launch zumba classes for sufferers

Parkinson’s sufferers in Havering have become the latest group to be swept along by the zumba craze gripping the country.

The borough’s branch of Parkinson’s UK are believed to be the first Parkinson’s group to launch the dance inspired fitness program.

Ron Sampson, Chairman of the Havering branch of Parkinson’s UK said: “I think it is brilliant and they like it because they are meeting people and having lots of fun.

“I have seen people who have problems walking and the minute they get on the floor they become like fairies because they are gliding along.”

The hour long classes, which have become really popular are held every Friday by qualified zumba teacher Hayley Sharr.

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The class sees people with the disease doing the workout either sitting down in a chair or standing.

Ron said: “Zumba is really good for the disease because it is specifically catered for their needs and it gives them the chance to enjoy themselves while having lots of fun.”

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Ron came up with the idea of introducing zumba classes after attending a special Parkinson’s event two months ago.

The group, who have been funding the classes using the money from their fundraising activities are hoping to continue the zumba sessions for the rest of the year.

Ron said: “We use to do exercise classes a few years ago and we had to cancel it because no one attended, but this has really taken off because they are excercising and dancing.”

The Latin dance inspired fitness program was created by dancer and choreographer Alberto “Beto” Perez.

Since then it has become popular in the UK and America.

The Havering branch of Parkinson’s UK meet on the first and third Friday at Langtons House from 2pm to 4pm.

Valerie Oliver, 73 from Gidea Park who has been doing the zumba classes for the past five weeks said: “I think its always good to exercise, but I like doing zumba because it is nice excercising to music and it reminds me of the days when I use to dance.”

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