It’s not always easy to be physically active. Lots of us do experience pain and discomfort when trying to be active. There are times we’ve been afraid to move and try new things because we didn’t know if we didn’t know how it would make us feel afterwards.
During our Get CreActive project we did however try new things and we found other options and ways to move and be active.
The word 'dance' may conjure up images of leaping ballet dancers or crews of street dancers doing never-ending flips and tricks – but dance can be much simpler and quieter. Lots of dance choreographers provide movement workshops for all skills and abilities, often concentrating on movement rather than ‘dance’.
We took part in three movement workshops by choreographer Jack Philp which consisted of three very gentle movement activities. You can see a clip of the workshop below, how it made us feel and what we thought of this type of physical activity.
Hippie Deb reflected on taking part in one of Jack's sessions.
Jack Philp says, "If you’re interested to explore movement sessions, my advice would always be to try it with a group of people. People you know, or people you don’t! Either way, the shared energy in a room together quickly helps put everyone at ease. It might sound exposing to be with a group if it’s your first time, but I promise you it will feel much less pressured than if you were on your own".
Jack Philp says “Although there are a wealth of excellent teachers and spaces to move in the UK, dancing at home is often a great way to satisfy the movement itch too! You don’t always need a big studio, sometimes it might be about playing your favourite music or something which captures your mood and letting that drive your dance at home. You could work with an image and move with its qualities. You could imagine moving in a particular place. You could think about colours, sensations and even draw some of your ideas on paper. Movement is a great way to capture your thoughts and feelings. It doesn’t need to look a particular way; trust what your body might need in the moment.”
“The movement session with Jack was excellent. He was informative and open, welcoming and enthusiastic. He made me feel at ease and dispel any uncertainties in his discussion and explanation as we worked through the session. It was a lovely end to a busy week!”
“Loved it… Jack is very engaging and talented. Having been RAD trained I found it very liberating to move more freely, more like contemporary dance.”
We took part in a comedy aerobics, literal dancercise sessions with Mojomoves as part of our Get Creactive project. Using a range of music including lots of classic disco, we met ‘Cheryl Sprinkler’ online for 45 minute workouts.
Tailored to our needs, we grooved together to some of our own tunes too, selected by us as our own desert island discs.
“It was such brilliant and fun session; I’m so glad I took part” – Karen
“It’s lovely to engage with a large group of people with the same condition and share common ground. I’ve had the opportunity to try things I wouldn’t have normally tried.”
Some of us have been nervous to go back to our physical activities we used to enjoy. And some of us hippies have lacked the confidence to try new things. But it doesn't need to be that way.
Deb can find trying new things challenging:
“If you are anything like me, then trying something new can seem daunting. If I am invited anywhere, out for a meal or to a friend’s house, I wonder how many stairs I will have to climb. What will the seating be like when I get there? And how long will I be expected to sit? And that’s just in a social setting, let alone beginning a new exercise or activity.”
Pain is usually rooted in these initial thoughts. Will this hurt and for how long afterwards? What if nobody there is like me and understands? And how will I keep up with everyone?
Of course, these worries are all valid. You could be anxious, you could overthink these things, that is how many of us have survived with this for so long.
You're not alone. These thoughts are common among us hippies - but there's a way through!
Below, Deb gives her top tips on how to build confidence in trying something new, or go back to activities you used to enjoy:
Know your limitations but don’t be afraid of them
If something starts to hurt, or you sense that it will, then stop. Take a break, don’t force it. Also, if something has hurt before, it doesn’t mean that it always will. You might be surprised.
Ask the restaurant what the chairs are like. Tell your Pilates teacher about your hips and offer to send a link if they are unfamiliar with dysplasia. Say that you would like to do this class at your own pace or skip certain movements without a fuss being made.
Ask for adapted or alternative exercises.
There may be another way to try that thing that always hurts.
Is this the best class for me?
Or is it available on zoom? Is there one at a better time, when you are less likely to be tired? Do they offer a seated class or one for pensioners you can join - these can be great fun! It takes the pressure off if you know that everyone is in the same (or a similar) boat.
Most of the time it won’t be as bad as you tell yourself.
In fact, what if it’s brilliant and you might have missed out? Everyone else will be just as self-conscious as you but for reasons you probably don’t even know about.
Dislike the unexpected?
Don’t we all. Quite often I worry that starting something new will mean that I won’t know what will be expected of me and if it will prove to be too much. Get as much information about the activity ahead of time. If you know that it will be flexible for example, then finding that out beforehand will be worth it if it means you’re more likely to give it a try.
Be kind to yourself.
If it’s not right for you, that’s ok too. It’s likely there will be lengthy periods when you can’t go far or do much. Don’t beat yourself up. Take the time to rest. Find other things to enjoy. You can always get back to it later.
You are doing great! Truly.