News: Standing strong in the New Forest


Adults keeping fit

A fall in later life can be debilitating – not only is the risk of fractures higher in an older person, but it can knock the person’s confidence and lead to social isolation and a loss of independence.

But a steadying hand is on offer in the New Forest where special exercise classes are being held for vulnerable people.

New Forest District Council, in partnership with GetFit121, NFDC health and leisure instructors and Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust’s Falls Prevention Coordinator, has introduced community postural stability training for older people who are unsteady on their feet.

The exercises aim to improve balance and boost confidence in carrying out daily routines.

They will also provide opportunities for social interaction and reduce the risk of falls and injury.

Comments from the older people attending classes include:

“An excellent set of exercises which work in well with those given me by my physiotherapist.”

“I find it a little easier to get in and out of the bath now. I find I often walk around my flat without a stick and don’t miss it.”

The classes, which cost £2.50, are held at:

Barfields, Lymington, on Wednesdays, at 10am and 11am

Quaker Court, Ringwood, Thursdays, 10am and 11am

Riverside Court, Fordingbridge, Tuesdays, 1.30pm

West Totton Centre, Totton, Mondays, 2pm

Hythe Medical Centre, Mondays, 10.30am

Homeford House, Brockenhurst, Fridays, 11.45am (from 9 March)

Milford Hospital on Wednesdays at 10.45am (from 7 March)

To find out more, call Gilly Ostler for the above classes on 0781 7233 707

There are also classes held at Lymington Health and Leisure Centre, Pennington, on Thursdays at 1.45pm. Call Tony Winslow, for this class, on 0845 659 0845.

The classes combine a range of mobility, resistance and flexibility exercises in a fun and sociable atmosphere to help older people keep fit and reduce the risk of falls.

NFDC portfolio holder for Health and Leisure, Cllr Di Brooks, commented:

“Evidence shows that specific targeted exercise which increases muscle strength and improves balance and coordination can reduce falls and injuries for older people.

“These classes are working really well and are a great opportunity to meet other people, improve mobility and confidence and, above all, to have fun!”

Hampshire County Council’s Older Person’s Wellbeing Team run the ‘Better Balance for Life’ course, which includes exercises that older people can do in their own homes or as part of a small group to enable them to stay active.

As part of this initiative, Hampshire County Council is also offering free training workshops for people who work with community groups and volunteers to organise simple exercise sessions.

There will a training session, funded and supported by New Forest District Council, at Fenwick2 Health and Wellbeing Centre in Lyndhurst on 26 March, at 2pm.

To request a booking form or more information contact Sophie Jevons on or call 01962 846605.

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