Sit Tall… Walk Tall… Music Can Change It All!

Jun 24, 2011
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With unknown expectations and heightened emotions, Jennifer and I tumbled down to Chicago’s Crowne Plaza on June 14th.  We were on our way to present the morning Physical Activity session for the July Disability and Health Partners’ Meeting.  Adrianne’s cheerful demeanor and can-do attitude were a delight and truly appreciated when we checked in.  Off we went to see our space and there was Adrianne ready to help and set up our lap top with the music.  Phew!  I was thrilled that Frank Sinatra would be a part of this morning fitness session after all.

To have a partner like Jennifer Day is a special delight.  I knew this group was in for a real treat of fresh and fun movement ideas.  I would take the lead through the basics of a Sensible Fitness Class.  The energy started flowing and my hope was to calm down and stress the many opportunities to modify and adapt physical activities for those with and without physical disabilities.  I checked with Jennifer and she confirmed that we did deliver a strong message about the importance of posture, touch, proper form, praise and encouragement.  We also covered proper breathing and adaptive, developmental and corrective exercises.  We brought many different toys to keep the class interactive and fun.  We were also able to share some of the homemade, inexpensive apparatuses.  Tools for fitness can be found all around us if you look with open eyes and a bit of creativity.  I believe that the familiarity of these everyday tools creates a less intimidating and more inviting atmosphere to ensure a daily and consistent regimen.

We kept inviting attendees to join us in the class segments.  Most were attentive, and we did get their attention with my favorite chant, “You’re only as strong as your grip!”  However, as predicted, Jennifer stole the show when she cued in Frank Sinatra and the magic happened.  The music lightened the atmosphere, liberated people’s inhibitions exactly the same way it does weekly at my Alzheimer’s/Dementia classes.   Although the space between tables was limited, volunteers came up to begin basic ballroom steps.  The room became charged and animated and we were smiling and laughing.

Music continues to be a wonderful way to connect with your clients, overcome obstacles and dissolve barriers.  Thank you NCPAD for the opportunity to participate in this event.

Suzanne Gray and Jennifer Day

Author: suzanne