A WOMAN from Cardigan is helping older people with limited mobility to get fit after going on her own fitness journey.

Morvenna Richards is hosting her own classes at Barcud Housing community lounge which are aimed to help people over the age of 50 and with limited mobility.

Morvenna is disabled and uses a wheelchair and when she wanted to get fit again, she faced a number of barriers. “We are all aware that exercise helps us stay fitter and healthier for longer,” she said. “Medical professionals are constantly telling us to exercise to maintain a healthy weight, retain or improve mobility, and help prevent the onset of diseases associated with aging in later life.

“But for so many older and disabled people, the idea of sweating it out in a crowded dance class, pumping weights in a gym or taking part in competitive sports has barriers to access and can be quite intimidating.”

The 56-year-old discovered online seated fitness classes during the covid pandemic and her own fitness journey began. “Not only did it lift my mood during lockdown, but also aided my range of mobility, rebuilt lost muscle tone, and improved my heart and lungs.”

This improvement impressed Morvenna’s medical team who put her forward for a trial on the NHS to research the benefits of exercise for people with respiratory problems.

Her regular exercise from these classes and a mindful eating programme saw her halve her weight from 106kg and a size 22, to 53.5kg and a side 10-12. “I feel great,” she said.

However, Morvenna came across more barriers when she was more confident to join a class but struggled to find an in-person class that was accessible until she came across My Moves.

“I was delighted to discover ‘My Moves,’ an inclusive, creative dance class for adults with additional learning needs, funded by Arts Care.” The class was held at Mwldan studios and Morvenna became a volunteer assistant.

“I also joined in with Dance for Wellbeing aimed at the more mature dancers, at Be You Yoga Studio in Cardigan town centre. I can dance in my wheelchair and I hope to inspire and encourage other disabled people to take to the dance floor and get fit.”

Her experiences inspired Morvenna to retrain for a career in helping others find adapted fitness classes in Cardigan and in 2023, she also qualified as a fitness trainer and gained a Pilates teacher’s diploma, which led to her own fitness classes.

Morvenna’s classes at Barcud work on gentle cardio, core strength, balance and co-ordination with the aim of helping to prevent falls and delay the early onset of diseases that are often related with aging.

Equipment is provided at the classes as well as free refreshments and there is a chance to chat and make friends after the sessions.

The classes take place at Barcud Housing community lounge in Cardigan on Thursdays at 1.30pm. They last for an hour and cost £4 per person.

There will also be gentle, seated Pilates classes starting in February, with a focus on good posture, muscle toning, breathing, relaxation and stress management.

Morvenna offers free taster sessions for residential care homes and offer dementia friendly activity sessions with creative movement to music and props including pompoms, scarves, musical equipment and a parachute for games to encourage mobility, co-ordination and most importantly, fun.

For more information, contact Morvenna on morvenna7@hotmail.com or 07910111215 or visit Active-Ability on Facebook.