Taking pleasure in gaining a new skill is something we experience regardless of our age. The joy of learning doesn’t stop when we reach a certain age milestone and the curiosity to discover new things is as present in adults as it is in children. Here at St John’s, we offer those over the age of 55 living in Bath and North East Somerset a vibrant programme of activities and events, where the discovery of learning, wellbeing and independence is at the heart of all our classes.
We have over 15 different classes on offer, with ballet being one of the favourites. It isn’t necessary to know your plié from your pointe or to be able to leap around the room á la Darcey Bussell or Carlos Acosta to reap the health benefits of ballet. More and more over 55s are taking up the classes to improve their core, balance, strength and flexibility, and to take part in an activity that unleashes their inner dancer.
Of course, ballet is not the only option we offer that boosts wellbeing and physical fitness. Over the last year, we’ve increased the number of classes on offer due to a surge in demand since the end of lockdown restrictions in 2021.
During the pandemic, our activities programme was forced to migrate online. This proved to be invaluable for many of our almshouse residents and the wider community across Bath and North East Somerset both in terms of ensuring a sense of social inclusion and aiding better physical and mental health. As soon as we were permitted to welcome people back to our venues, the appetite among the community to get moving has been insatiable.
There is a myriad of reasons for this, ranging from an increased sense of companionship and developing new friendship groups, to a genuine desire to stay physically active. It could also be simply that participating in such activities is an enjoyable thing to do – especially when followed by a cup of tea and a slice of cake.
We all know that as we age, our risk of developing mental health conditions increases. According to the World Health Organisation, one in five (20%) of adults aged 60 and over suffer from a mental or neurological disorder.
Physical exercise such as yoga, ballet, and pilates can have a direct impact on boosting an individual’s mood, reducing stress and anxiety. So too can other group-based activities like tai-chi and stitching. This in turn has been shown to help older adults overcome clinical depression.
The risk to our physical health also increases as we get older. Muscle mass decreases by up to 8% per decade after the age of 30 with the rate increasing by the time we reach 60. This can cause challenges for people, such as vulnerability to falls and injury and reduced mobility.
This further highlights the importance of staying active for oneself. Our activities programme offers a range of low resistance-high impact exercises that can have enormous physical benefits in slowing many age-related health issues or even prevent them from occurring in the first place.
If you are aged 55 years or older and live in the Bath and North East Somerset region, take a look at St John’s good Living activities and try something new today!