On this page we would like to share some ideas / tips on healthy living.  If anyone wishes to contribute, please do so via the Contacts page.

The formation of Lets Dance was inspired by the BBC programme hosted by Angela  Rippon entitled ‘How to Stay Young’ which was broadcast on 7th April 2016.  

Prior to the broadcasting of the programme The Telegraph published an article    ‘What I’ve learned about the science of staying young’ in which Angela Rippon describes what she learned during the making of the programme about the aging process and how it can be slowed down http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/health/angela-rippon-what-ive-learned-about-the-science-of-staying-youn/

A review of the programme was also given on 8th April in The Guardian https://amp.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2016/apr/08/review-how-to-stay-young


Healthy Recipes

Earlier in the summer, one of our Committee Members attended a Pop Up Supper hosted by Riverford Organic Farmers which she enjoyed immensely and found articles which the founder of Riverford, Guy Watson, had written to be both brilliant and alarming.  The subjects of the articles included pesticides, bee harming neonicotinoids and the story of a dead Orca found on a shore in Scotland whose polychlorinated biphenyl levels were 20 times greater than scientists consider manageable for cetaceans, giving strong evidence that European waters are still heavily polluted.

Riverford grow fantastic vegetables and give some healthy, original recipes incorporating their produce on their website www.riverford.co.uk - well worth a visit.

MUSCLES– the Power House of our Body


By Sue Burgess                 Freelance Fitness Trainer :  suebfitness.co.uk


Quotes:    Prof Karen Middleton, chief executive of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, said:


We must move past the idea that becoming weaker and frailer is inevitable as we get older.


‘Research shows getting stronger brings a whole host of health benefits so it is incredibly important that people don’t overlook strengthening when being active.


‘As the guidelines set out, it doesn’t mean immediately hitting the gym to lift weights - to start, it can be digging in the garden or simple bodyweight exercises like standing up out of a chair 10 times.


I have been asked to include a short talk/discussion about a health related topic that will interest you and I thought a chat about muscles would be a good topic as we all have them and want to keep them as the quote above suggests!!


After 30 years of working in the fitness industry teaching Exercise to Music, I still always ‘keep my finger on the pulse’ by updating my knowledge base from many reliable sources. I am trained to Level 4 in Postural Stability and to Level 4 in Exercise After Stroke for anyone who has lost function after a stroke. I work for the NHS Falls Prevention Team, Stroke Association and Sutton College as well as running my private classes, which all amount to 15 sessions a week!


The aerobic benefits that you gain from taking part in these Lets Dance classes are wonderful ! The heart muscle and the connective tissues that form the blood vessels are all working hard during your hour of exercise. You feel great afterwards and enjoy the many long term improvements of heart and lung efficiency in pumping oxygenated blood and nutrients around the body.




Between the ages of 30 and 80 years you lose, on average, 40% of your muscle mass!! That’s a huge amount. It is a fact of ageing – you lose around 8% per decade. These figures are well documented by the medical profession and more recently, by How To Stay Young with Angela Rippon. 


As a consequence of this muscle loss, strength and balance will also deteriorate.


You may also put on weight and be unable to lose it.  


Muscle tissue is the body’s furnace – it is metabolically active tissue, it burns the fat that is otherwise stored in fat cells. More muscle = less fat 


-          Myth: Muscle does not turn into fat when you stop exercising.


-          True: Use it or lose it – muscles get smaller when they are not regularly used.


-          Body fat may also increase because muscle mass is decreasing


Low muscle mass means that the joints,  particularly knees, hips and spine will have to cope with more work load and possibly increased pain. The heart and lungs will have more strain on them.


The Good News - Strength Training exercise can slow down this process considerably!


The benefits of higher muscle mass:


-Increased bone strength


-Lowers risk of Diabetes


-Lowers blood pressure


-Manage and maintain healthy levels of body fat.


-Strong Muscles will help to support the joints – ease pain, increase range of movement, increase your endurance to keep you going for longer!!


Eventually this may reduce reliance of pain relief medication, which is a huge benefit!


It goes without saying that we need to maintain muscle mass as we age and to do this we need to include strength training as part of our everyday activities.


How do we do it? There are so many exercises


As demonstrated: 


Back extension – Upper Back Squeeze and Lower Back Extension arm reach above head, lying flat lift leg up behind


     - Avoids development of Kyphotic curved cervical spine. Postural control.


Legs, Core: Split Squats, Wide Squats, alternating Forward Lunges and Side Lunges, Sit to Stand, Seated Leg Extension. 


These exercises use Quadriceps & Gluteus Maximus targeting the largest and strongest muscles in the body, also used for core strength and balance.


Heel raises – calf muscles – endurance.


Hip abduction – side leg abduction with balance! Both hips


Biceps curls – arms and shoulders


Chest press – wall press ups - pectorals and triceps muscles


Shoulder press – functional reach - deltoids 


Abdominals – core strength, postural stability, function


I have written a short, general strength training programme, below, that you could complete at home. As you have not completed a strength training session with me, this has to be risk assessed by you. If you have any personal concerns, please do ask, but this is not a personalised programme for any one individual. It forms the basis of how I would run a group session in a risk assessed, safe environment. I cannot take responsibility for the safety of these exercises, although I believe them to be safe.


MUSCLES– the Power House of our Body – strength training programme


Always warm up first to:


1) raise the heart rate gently


2) warm up muscles  


3) mobilise the joints


Include marches, shoulder rolls, side steps, hamstring curls, trunk twists, breathe deeply throughout.


STOP any exercise if you feel breathless, dizzy or unsteady or feel a great level of pain. Please check with your GP before commencing any form of exercise.





Strengthens Gluteals and Quadriceps Muscles

Static Forward Lunges x 10 on each leg every other day


Right leg in front, left leg behind you. Raise the left heel, lower left knee under the hip. Bend the right knee, keeping the knee behind the toes, stand tall, don’t lean forwards.

Strengthens Gluteals, Quadriceps and knees

Sit to Stand 2 x 10 daily. If knees are not strong or are painful start with 2 x 5 daily.

Stand in front of a firm dining chair – move hips back as if sitting down almost onto the chair – and stand up again. Use leg muscles and hips.


Biceps Curls 2 x 10 reps each arm daily

Use a manageable weight  (tin of beans, bottle of water, thera-band) Elbow stays tucked in to the waist, lift the hand up to the shoulder and slowly down again to the hip, moving only the forearm, not upper arm

Legs and balance

One leg stand for 30 seconds on each leg

Stand close to a wall for support. Don’t lock back on the standing knee joint, stand tall, chin up, back long. Hold on to start with, progress to letting go. Clench supporting hip.

Postural Control - Upper Back

Upper Back Squeeze 2 x 10 reps or as many as you can do. Good exercise if you tend to lean forward over a computer keyboard or have a tendency to always look down or slouch

Palms facing up, with a thera-band placed in the palms of your hands, elbows bent into the waist, pull outwards slightly and then backwards with both elbows and squeeze the shoulder blades together. Hold for 3-5 seconds breathe and release.


Side Leg Raise from standing or lying on the bed 2 x 10 or as many as you can

Standing: Stand close to the wall for support, without locking the supporting knee. Lift and lower the outside leg, standing tall, lead with the heel, not toes. Don’t lift too high, don’t lean into the wall

Cool down  - rhythmic movements used in the warm up.  Stretches the muscle groups used to ease any tightness

As Thursday class cool down





The exercises above are evidence based and widely recognized for the benefits gained. Therefore risk of injury should be minimal, with correct technique. Always make the working area safe before proceeding and if it doesn’t feel right or you are unsure, please do not proceed.  Please risk assess these exercises for yourself on an individual basis.





Tumeric has great health benefits and is famous for its anti-inflammatory properties.  It has been used medicinally for thousands of years and is recommended for sufferers of arthritis as well as skin and immune system problems

Turmeric paste is also known as “GOLDEN PASTE”   Below is just one recipe for Golden Paste (there are many)


Dee Cox, one of our Committee Members, brought some delicious snacks (energy bites) to one of our Meetings, which are vegetarian, gluten and dairy free but not good for anyone with a nut allergy.  Everyone enjoyed them and asked for the recipe, which we share below:

Healthy Foods

Richly coloured foods such as blueberries, aubergines and grapes may assist towards a healthy heart, blood pressure and reducing obesity.  Recent data from the National Health & Nutrition Examination study through a survey of eating and health habits found that people who eat purple and blue fruits and vegetables have reduced risk of high blood pressure and low HDL cholesterol (the good type) and are less likely to be overweight.

The BBC Good Food gives a number of recipes for aubergine: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/collection/aubergine

The BBC also give a number of recipes with blueberries: http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/blueberry


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