Exercise really is for everyone, just follow Marie

September 30 2016

FITNESS instructor Marie Clifford must have some of the most enthusiastic class members anywhere – so it’s no surprise that she’s in line for an award. The Voice dropped in on Marie’s weekly seated-exercise class at Community Links South, off Novers Lane in Knowle West.

Marie Clifford leads diversity exercise class in Knowle West

Marie has been nominated for the Diversity and Equality Instructor of the Year award.

Almost 40 people packed the room, taking part in whatever way they wanted: following Marie’s cues, singing to the music and making their own moves.

The music was often loud and pumping but that wasn’t upsetting anyone, from the over-55 members to those with dementia or those in wheelchairs.

“I like this class because I’ve always been active,” said Patricia, one of the older members. “I like the exercise and the music – I come twice a week.” One of the younger members with learning difficulties, Helen, comes from Filton every week. “I like the music and doing different things – I do all the moves.”

Marie explained that, unlike an ordinary zumba class, which she also teaches, people don’t have to follow all the moves – they do whatever they are able. “There’s more and more evidence that moving in any way is beneficial to you,” she said, “with not only physical benefits but emotional and social benefits too.”

Marie also teaches classes for the over 55s at the Monica Wills centre in Bedminster and several others across the city.

She took up zumba as a kind of therapy after suffering from stress  as a schoolteacher. Now she has made fitness her career, and took a special qualification in seated-exercise for the less able.

She has no idea who nominated her for the National Community Fitness Awards. If you’d like to vote for Marie, go to www.projectmayhemevents.com