NORTHERN VIRGINIA (WDVM) — Every Monday from 12:00 to 1:00 for the next eight weeks, MovementX personal trainers and physical therapists will appear in living rooms across the country to get their clients moving. It’s part of the MovementX’s AgeProof Your Body program: a series of exercise classes that aim to empower people age 60 and up to exercise independently and safely.
The classes have existed in person in community centers since 2018. Monday was the first class online; an introductory session in which the participants could practice with Zoom technology and instructors made sure the participants’ cameras were adjusted properly. They also took part in a baseline test with exercises like sitting to standing, balancing on one leg, and doing push ups.
“So many of my people who used to look at me with big wide eyes of confusion when I would talk to them about exercise are now participating in this class.” said Dr. Natasha Beauvais of Northern Virginia Family Practice Associates. “One woman told me that this back pain she’s had for 20 years is better.”
The company’s recent decision to launch online has taken them to living rooms as far as Seattle. Its first class reached 100 participants, including some of MovementX staff’s family members.
“I almost started crying when I first started talking,” said MovementX physical therapist Meredith Black. “So much work has been put into this. People were willing – especially a population that probably doesn’t use Zoom that often and is not that comfortable with a digital platform – they still were willing to put their best foot forward and just try.”
“[The pandemic] is a time when a lot of older adults are both physically and socially isolated and a time where they’re really not moving as much day to day; not going to the grocery store, not going to restaurants, not going to the houses of family and friends, and that lesser movement has an impact on our strength and our flexibility,” said MovementX CEO Josh D’Angelo.
This may also be the first time many of these people have exercised in quite a while. When asked how much experience they had with exercising on a scale of one to five very few had a lot of it.
“People who are not used to using their bodies – and then they go a decade or two without using their bodies – of course, their function gets dramatically worse,” said Beauvais. “And then they feel even less like they have a link to being able to recover and actually they don’t believe they can recover. They don’t hope that they can recover.”
That’s why Beauvais and D’Angelo created the program in the first place. Each exercise has three levels of difficulty – with levels of modifications throughout – and up to 10 trainers are always on the call, giving feedback in real time.
They’re also doing it for others. 100 percent of the proceeds will benefit organizations who are fighting against COVID-19, including Protect the Heroes, which provides resources and protective equipment to healthcare providers, and World Central Heroes, which feeds underserved communities and seniors who cannot leave their homes.
“I’m just so excited to see the win come to fruition because we’ve always known it could be good and to see 100 people together online all for the same cause just gives me goosebumps,” D’Angelo said.
MovementX is still accepting signups for the classes at ageproofyourbody.com.
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