The Story of Jean who literally wiggled her way to health - new lease of life at the age of 80.
For those who dont know me so on top of teaching Pilates I also teach Bellydancing - and during the lockdown I was contacted by Jean who wanted me to teach her to bellydance..... In any normal circumstances I would have been happy to teach anyone bellydance but Jean was very limited in mobility, pretty much disabled. Most of the vertebrae in her back where either cracked or broken due to years of osteoarthritis and osteporosis and a few accidents- she had a number of operations, problems with her hips and knees etc she could stand bent forward and shuffle her feet aided with a stick to walk around the house. Things got a lot worse for her as she reached her 70s birthday and from there it went from bad to worse but she was so eager to learn to bellydance that I decided to take this impossible mission on just to cheer her up.
We started to work once a week for 30 minutes on zoom - Jean was seated on a chair and I had to develop gentle and yet effective exercises for her to start activating her core muscles so they can support her spine. We worked on upper body only for the first 6 weeks while Jean did her "homework" every day and by week 6 Jean showed me how she stand upright. I was amazed!!!! She hasnt been able to straighten her back for years. From this point I was very encouraged to give it my all - Jean had to learn how to walk again as her body didnt remember how to use the muscles in her legs and how does it feel to be standing up right - by week 9 she was walking properly unaided. By week 10 we managed to actually work on the strength of her legs and knees and she started to do exercises on a mat!!!!!!!!!!! Yes she was able to go down to the mat and come back up unaided.
Each week we progressed further and further and Jean has just celebrated her 80th birthday - (Feb 2022) and she could show off to all he friends and family how she stands, walk, dance, wiggle etc - if she feels any niggling pain in her back she wiggles it away... I was honoured to take part in her 80th birthday and see her so happy.
Jean taught me a lesson - to never underestimate the will power and positive attitude of a person and never give up on anyone. Jean wanted me to tell her story as she wants to inspire people at any age to take actions and make an effort to change their quality of life. She said "inactivity is NOT the answer" and she is a living proof to this statement.
The more she does the more she can do. I am so pleased to be able to enable Jean to have a better quality of life and something to look forward to like a nice holiday for her and Brian.
View this short video to see how Jean progressed with her walking unaided
View this short video to see Jean learning to have graceful arms while dancing
Jean's Birthday Party - Feb 2022 - 15 months later
Dancing on her birthday session
Jean dancing at her 80th Birthday party