I started writing this sitting at the back of a village hall watching twenty older people taking parts in an Age Uk strength and mobility class. That particular class was focussed on strength and coordination; watching Mum was like watching a small child. She was trying so hard but finding some parts very tricky.
The class is run by ‘Pop up Sue’. That’s how she introduced herself when I called to get mum booked on. She went to great pains to tell me over and over how they ‘have a great laugh’ and a lot of things that happen are ‘hilarious’. It sounded terrible. I thought Mum would hate the enforced jollity. I thought we’d both be gritting our teeth in a matter of minutes…
Mum loved it though. And I was the one who burst out laughing when her resistance band pinged off her foot and towards the middle of the circle. Twice.
I started writing this sitting at the back of the hall, then realised that Mum needed a bit of one-to-one help as resistance bands and throwing bean bags around were a bit beyond her for the first session, and she looked a bit lost.
By the end I was holding the back of my chair just like everyone else, doing squats while balancing a bean bag on my head. It was more than a little bit surreal.
Pop up Sue is happy to have Mum back though, so we’ll be returning in a couple of weeks (with a bit of practice in the week between, using the handy leaflet that was given to us. I can’t see that going wrong at all…).
I never anticipated that a chair based exercise class would be something I’d be taking Mum to. I certainly never anticipated that she’d enjoy it, or that she would be the one in the room to struggle the most with following the instructions. I guess there is a lot in life we don’t anticipate.
That evening I went to my circuits class and as I bitched and moaned about how hard it was as sweat poured down my face I caught myself for a moment – I wonder if actually for the ladies and gentlemen at Pop up Sues work harder in their class than I do in mine. Then I reminded myself – they at least get a drink and biscuits (and good ones too!) for their troubles – that has to make it worth it ;o)