These girls can
New year usually means getting more active so Charlotte Pearson finds the perfect inspiration in Hastings.
It seems you are never too old to get fit, something which 81-year-old Valerie Wreford shows.
Running classes in a number of East Sussex venues, Valerie is passionate about getting people active.
“My classes are for people who don’t want to go to the gym,” she explains. “People don’t always feel comfortable in the classes that can be over crowded and sweaty, or they don’t like the machines.
“For older people the gym can be very daunting.”
Offering ‘gentle exercises’, it helps with flexibility, looks at exercises to keep the hips and pelvis in good working order to ‘reduce the number of hip replacements’ and helps to improve upper body strength.
“They have good strength in their legs and can walk about but for many of them they have little strength in their arms,” explains Valerie.
But it is not just the elderly who benefit from attending the classes, with Valerie explaining it is great for people overweight or classified as morbidly obese.
“I also want to start doing yoga for children as well as I think it is important to get the elderly and young interested in fitness,” she explains. “I have been doing yoga and pilates for more than 40 years and love it.”
Admitting that she is big on ‘self promotion’ is was Valerie that approached Active Hastings, a directory listing sport and events, to get involved with them.
This then lead to her being part of the This Girl Can campaign in Hastings.
A national campaign developed by Sport England and a wide range of partnership organisations, This Girl Can aims to celebrate women getting active and encourages more to do so.
“I jumped at the chance to be involved,” enthuses Valerie. “I think it is really important to get people moving and active.”
“It is a fantastic national campaign,” adds councillor Dawn Poole, Hasting council’s lead member for leisure. “It’s all about getting active and doing your thing no matter how you look or how hot and bothered you get.
“In Hastings we used local women in our This Girl Can posters to inspire other women living in the Hastings and St Leonards area to get active.
“Lots of local females have already taken part in the scheme by posting photos of themselves being active on Facebook and Twitter.”
With Valerie being one of them, but she isn’t the oldest.
“The council’s Active Hastings team posted a photo of Daphne Lawson,” explains Dawn. “She has been inspiring others to get active and take part.
“Daphne, who attends the Active Hastings over 50s aerobics class, has 16 years until she gets a birthday card from the Queen and can hold the plank for over a minute, very impressive.”
At the heart of the campaign is not worrying about the way you look, which one of the taglines highlights: ‘sweating like a pig, feeling like a fox’, while another tagline is about how regardless of size you can get out there and go for it ‘I jiggle therefore I am’.
Using real women in the adverts and poster certainly seems to be having an impact.
“As a mother of an eight year old daughter I see the campaign as a very positive message to females young and old,” reveals Jo Green, a This Girl Can Hastings winner and Active Hastings participant.
“That’s what prompted me to take my active picture. The best way for me to show her was to lead by example
“The two classes I took, ‘stretch it, tone it’ and ‘bike it for beginners’ were ideal for me. As a not very fit person they were sessions I could do at my own pace and didn’t feel any pressure to keep up with anyone else.
“Also not all exercise has to be running and jumping about, the ‘stretch it’ class in particular is low impact, but I still feel really energised after it.”
Something which Valerie can relate to.
“My classes are for people, predominately aged over 60 who just want to relax, take it easy but have a workout,” she says. “It is about staying alive, active and healthy.”
For more information on Active Hastings, visit www.activehastings.org.uk
And for more information on This Girl Can, visit www.thisgirlcan.co.uk
December 31, 2015 Fashion and Beauty