Reducing social isolation through low impact movement
The Mercury Theatre in Colchester offers weekly sessions of fun, low-impact movement to a group of mixed ability residents aged 55+.
The incentive offered older residents who have been impacted by social isolation and the cost-of-living crisis, a chance to improve their physical and mental welling through free Zumba sessions.
Participants didn’t want to attend a gym or other classes, as they felt intimidated due to their age and fitness levels. The class is set at an introductory level with a range of repetition exercises and is accessible for all participants to ensure the feel comfortable when taking part. The instructor sets different levels of modification and encourages the seniors to take it at their own pace. Having a café on site allows seniors to socialise after each class due to residents feeling isolated and their social life has declined since the pandemic.
Through Find Your Active funding, the sessions have been able to offer physical activity sessions for seniors who struggle to afford classes. The social element also had high importance, with friendships formed and acquaintances with other members of the group. Through additional funding from Community 360 for those on bursary places from Active Essex, free, light refreshments were offered in the onsite café after classes to reduce social isolation and food poverty barriers.