Zumba giving over-50s a new way to stay active

Pauline Grant leads the Zumba Gold class at Club Hampshire in Gosport. Picture: Steve Reid (122181-027)
Pauline Grant leads the Zumba Gold class at Club Hampshire in Gosport. Picture: Steve Reid (122181-027)
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With a whoop and a shimmy, Pauline Grant makes her way across the floor.

Following her lead are a group of women aged anywhere between 50 and 75.

The Latin-inspired music makes it clear they’re doing Zumba – but there’s a big difference between the moves going on here and those that make up a traditional class.

Zumba Gold is an adapted version of the fitness craze that’s swept across the UK.

While the full-on version features lots of high-energy dance moves and jumps, Zumba Gold concentrates on more low-impact movements.

Instructor Pauline has been leading a class for Club Hampshire in Gosport for around six weeks and says it’s perfect for older people who want to maintain rather than improve their fitness levels.

Club Hampshire organises a range of activities and events for older people including a new Tai Chi class. At its Gosport base in Willis Road, the Zumba Gold sessions are already proving a hit with members.

‘I absolutely love teaching this class,’ says Pauline.

‘I’m very privileged because it’s so much fun and my ladies absolutely adore doing it.

‘We take the same music – Latin, Salsa and Merengue – but we tend to use a slightly slower beat per minute so it is a bit slower.

‘The moves are just adapted a little bit so we take out the impact and aren’t jumping up and down.

‘It’s definitely a class that anyone can do, regardless of their movement ability.’

While older people might not feel comfortable joining a regular Zumba class, this session is specially designed to appeal to the over-50s.

The women at the Club Hampshire session turn up wearing comfortable clothes, not Lycra sportswear and fancy footwear.

At the end of the 45-minute session many stick around to enjoy coffee, cake and a chat.

And Pauline says that the social side of the sessions form an important part of what’s on offer.

‘Zumba is a really social activitiy,’ she adds.

‘We’ve really met that head-on. Those who want to stay on afterwards can do and we include the whooping, cheering and clapping because that’s an important part of Zumba.’

As well as encouraging people to keep moving, some of the exercises are also tailored towards preventing trips and falls.

‘What I say to everybody is that if they can’t reach up high, reach down low. If they can’t do something they’ll just march on the spot. Any movement is better than just sitting at home on your own.

‘It’s a class designed for all levels of fitness and all levels of mobility. I’ve got some young seniors and some older seniors who can do less of the moves. The focus is just to keep on moving.’

The session takes place from 11.30am on Tuesdays at The Anchorage in Willis Road. Places don’t need to be booked and each session costs £4.

To find out more call Pauline on 07976968379. Log on to brendoncare.org.uk to find out more about Club Hampshire.