Championing physical activity – reflections

This week we hand over to Dr Chris Russell to hear his reflections on working alongside practitioners offering physical activity to people affected by dementia. It’s particularly fitting as today just happens to be World Day for Physical Activity…

In mid-March the third run of the online course we’ve been offering to practitioners from a wide range of backgrounds, aiming to enhance their confidence and ability to offer physical activity to people affected by dementia, came to its conclusion. It is such a privilege to be working alongside colleagues who are so motivated and keen to do a good job. It is positive because we know physical activity can and should be part of everyday life for people living with dementia. Sadly it is often not, and this was a core motivation to develop and offer the course. We believe it can help close that gap.

Physical activity doesn’t have to be something which is highly organised, or in any way involve individuals wearing lycra! (Although, of course, if that’s what people want that’s absolutely fine). Physical activity is broadly defined as any movement that gets people’s heart rate moving in the right direction. So it can apply to a wide range of activities and pastimes, and for us that means we can link it to leisure and the sorts of interests people have, or things they may want to try. Following on from that, the course is designed to encourage participants to think about the people they work alongside and use what people bring as their motivation for taking part to offer them something really enjoyable, as well as being useful.

Feedback from participants on the course illustrates how it has enabled them to feel more confident and adapt their approach. For example, one related,

“My approach was very different to how I usually teach! I very much went with the flow! One person just…stood up and danced, so I did! They loved the freestyle aspect…”

It has also been pleasing to hear how the course has motivated participants to enhance their approach to working together with others in the future. For example,  

“I will use this experience…to set up a dementia specific class. I would be also willing to work…setting up and/or supporting others running classes.”

The course is based upon evidence, and it was encouraging to see the first write-up of the research we completed underpinning it published in the March/April issue of the Journal of Dementia Care this week. More articles are in press and will follow.

A new course begins on 25th April, but there is still time to enrol. If you are interested, please contact me, Course Leader, Chris Russell via Places are limited, so be in touch soon.

Please don’t just take our word for what the course can offer though. Here is what one participant fed back,

“I have been raving about the programme to lots of different organisations…I have found the variety and presentation of the course modules really helpful and it suits my learning style brilliantly.”

Connect with ADS on twitter @DementiaStudies and on Facebook @adsuow


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s