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Foundation's Strength & Balance classes helping improve lives

5 February 2020

Stevenage Football Club Foundation’s Strength and Balance Classes are having a significant positive impact on members of the local community as the sessions help individuals improve their physical ability within a positive environment…

Ran by the Foundation’s Healthy Lifestyles Manager and qualified Postural Stability Instructor Hannah Marsh, the classes run every week in Stevenage, Borehamwood, Watford, Letchworth, Hertford, Welwyn Garden City, Cheshunt, Hemel Hempstead, Rickmansworth and St Albans.

“I am not only co-ordinating these classes, but I am delivering four (Stevenage, Borehamwood, Watford & Rickmansworth) of them,” Hannah said. “It is hugely rewarding to watch people come in who are often quite nervous and unsure at the beginning but to watch them progress as the week’s go on and see them considerably improve their strength and balance is so good to see.”

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Exercises come in the form of seated and standing activities and abilities range from all levels. Hannah says, “We take all kinds of medical conditions into account as long as they have GP clearance but exercise is fantastic for lots of different ailments that older people may suffer with such as high blood pressure, Type 2 Diabetes, if they have had joint replacements – these are the kind of exercises that can help strengthen the joints and keep them active.

“We never expect the participants to do any more than they want to do or can do and there is no pressure whatsoever on the people who attend. I do find that it is a big confidence builder for a lot of people though and it doesn’t normally take long for everybody to get fully into the swing of things.”

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One such participant who has used the classes to help rehabilitate an injury is Pat Gascoyne who attends the classes in Watford.

“I dislocated my hip in May and it did a lot of damage to my muscles and tendon, so I have had time to do a lot of physio,” she said. “I have had private sessions and hydrotherapy and this class is just as good, if not better. It was £45 or £50 a session and this is just £3, so the value for money here is incredible. I have been here for a month now and I am much stronger for it.”

Susan Wall has been attending the sessions for six weeks and said, “This is the first time in a long time that I have anything like this and it has really benefited me. It helps you be more mobile, it makes you feel fitter and I would really recommend it to other people.”

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Elly Tyne attends the Strength & Balance Classes with her partner Ben and she explains how the social element is just as valuable to them.

“I have been coming for eight weeks and we really enjoy it. We sit in the armchair a bit too much at home, so we decided to do something to get us moving. We look forward to it every week and we feel much fitter for it. I have a dropped foot so I struggle with things on my left-side but I do so much more than I used to now.

“There is a nice crowd of people here and we have a laugh which is so important. I come with my partner and he really enjoys it too – it brightens up our week.”

The classes require funding and increased participation in-order to keep them running, so if you know of somebody that may find Stevenage FC Foundation’s Strength & Balance Classes useful, please contact Hannah Marsh on 01438 223223 (option 6) or email hannahm@stevenagefc.com. View the full list of classes by clicking here.

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