Social enterprise urges older people to keep exercising

women walking along a path

Whole Body Therapy helps older people to get back into exercising. - Credit: Whole Body Therapy

A social enterprise which works to get people exercising is encouraging over 60s to go out into the fresh air as lockdown restrictions ease this week.

As of today (March 29), people can meet outdoors in groups of six or in a group of any size from two households, and take part in formally organised outdoor sports.

Whole Body Therapy, which runs exercise services in both Barking and Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge, will resume in-person activities following months of being closed.

Postural stability instructor Kim McClean told this paper: “We’re really looking forward to getting back out there for the walks.

“We target people over 60s because we want to give them the confidence to go back out in the fresh air, an opportunity to socialise safely, and get moving.

“It’s never too late to exercise, and some people just need some gentle guidance.”

Women practicing tai chi in Upminster

Clients practicing tai chi in Upminster - Credit: Whole Body Therapy

Havering has the oldest population in London, with a median age of around 40 years old, according to 2018 statistics from the Havering Public Health Service.

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Whole Body Therapy works to help people maintain independence and a better quality of life as they age, for example through Wellbeing Walks which are interspersed with exercises incorporating movements needed for everyday life, like getting up from a chair.

The walks include components of the FaME (Falls and Management Exercise) programme, such as mobility, strength, balance and adapted Tai Chi.

“They’re all useful exercises, not random movements,” Kim explained.

The older people's exercise instructor explained that strengthening and balancing exercises help prevent falls, improve mood and sleep patterns, increase energy levels and reduce risk of early death.

She stressed the importance of exercise in fighting health issues like diabetes and obesity, which in turn relieves pressure from the NHS.

People working on their knee bending exercises in Harold Wood 

Over 60s working on their knee bending exercises in Harold Wood - Credit: Whole Body Therapy

The not-for-profit enterprise was forced to close during lockdown, but stayed in contact with many of its clients through phone calls, online workout sessions and organising walking buddies.

From this week, socially-distanced sessions will see five people walking with an instructor, in line with the government’s rule of six.

To find out more about Whole Body Therapy visit