Dance company entertains patients

Awakeri School’s Jump Jam team show off their moves at the hospital. Supplied photo.

Hospital patients have been treated to a performance from a national dance company as part of a month-long initiative to get people moving.

Footnote New Zealand Dance performed for Whakatane Hospital patients on Monday, before heading out of town on a nationwide tour.

“As a national dance company, movement is what we're all about, so it's such a pleasure to be able to share our passion while we're in Whakatane,” says Footnote New Zealand Dance general manager Richard Aindow. “With this short performance at Whakatane Hospital, an excerpt of our brand new show Search Engine, we hope to inspire people to Move it in May.”

The show was the latest in a series of events highlighting the ‘Move it in May’ campaign which emphasises the benefits of physical activity, especially in the elderly.

“We all benefit from staying active, particularly in the colder months, it helps us to stay well,” says Bay of Plenty District Health Board service improvement programme manager Dave van Dijk. “Move it in May aims to raise awareness about the debilitating impacts for patients of spending long periods in bed.

“Traditionally people think if they’re in hospital they must stay in bed. We need to shift that mind-set and, as soon as possible, encourage our patients to get up and move.

“Research shows just a few days in bed can reduce muscle strength and increase complications, particularly for frail older patients. And that can lead to a longer stay in hospital.”

Earlier in the month a ‘Keep on your Feet’ community Strength and Balance group class was held at Whakatane Hospital. The Sport Bay of Plenty classes are provided across the Eastern and Western Bay of Plenty, as part of the nationwide initiative.

Project leader Rachel Garden says the classes involve simple but effective exercises to improve leg strength and also challenge participants balance in a fun and safe environment.

The ‘Move it in May’ campaign was kicked off by Awakeri School’s Jump Jam team earlier in the month.

Three mornings a week, after the bell rings at Awakeri School, students meet to do their Jump Jam exercise routine.

“It’s a great start to the day; the children love it, those who don’t do jump jam go for a 10-minute run,” says Principal Peter Fitzgerald. “Being active is important for children. It has a positive impact on their physical, and mental wellbeing and ability to learn.”

Research shows that older people with muscle weakness, balance issues or mobility limitations are three to five times more likely to fall in any one year than those without these problems.

There is also evidence that community group strength and balance classes can reduce falls by 29 per cent.


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