Technical instructors lead Zumba for people with learning disabilities

An idea from technical instructor Nigel Tudball has been developed into a series of NHS-funded Zumba-based exercise classes for people with learning disabilities in south Wales.


Technical instructors lead Zumba for people with learning disabilities

Mr Tudball and colleague Julie Powell have been leading the ‘Funba’ sessions of movement to music since April. They now run four weekly groups for 10 adults aged in their 20s and 30s in various day centres in Rhondda Cynan Taf.

Team work

The two technical instructors are members of Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board’s learning disabilities team, which includes psychologists, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, learning disability nurses and two physios.

One physio, Tamas Piros, prescribes the exercises for the sessions, which are led by the technical instructors who start at the front of the class and step out to help the participants when needed.

‘What went before were seated exercises, very low level. And we found that many of the participants who were able to do more difficult exercises were missing out,’ he said.

The group members enjoy music and because the exercises have been designed for them, it has worked very well, according to Mr Piros.

Outcome measurements

Since August the weight and fitness levels of participants has been recorded and Mr Piro expects outcome measurements will be available in the future.

‘The outcome that we have seen is that they come regularly to the classes. We seem to be able to hold them week in week out,’ he said.

And there are unexpected benefits, Mr Piros explained: ‘Those guys who come to these sessions are far more engaged in their physiotherapy than those who don’t.

‘Because of their learning disabilities they sometimes have issues in engaging with people and it’s now much easier to keep on top of their regular issues like wheelchairs, or their walking, or other things that crop up.’

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