No-one is ever too old to start exercising says 58-year-old fitness instructor Sheila Frampton, who believes the next big workout craze hitting Huddersfield will have us bounding around the gym like kangaroos
We've embraced everything from aerobics and spinning to Zumba and kettlebells, but the latest exercise system to find its way to Huddersfield is bound to raise more than a few eyebrows - along with heart rates and metabolisms.
It’s known as Jump Fit, Kangoo Jump or rebounding and involves strapping on a pair of ‘ski’ boots that have oval ‘springs’ attached, and then leaping around to music.
In North America and Canada rebounding has been used to train astronauts and help patients recover from injury or surgery. It provides a low-impact but high-energy workout that targets everything from the core muscles supporting the spine to the all-important ‘gluts’ that create a firm backside.
It is, says fitness instructor Sheila Frampton - the woman who brought Powerhooping to Huddersfield and is now a rebounding fan - “incredibly good fun and a brilliant workout.
“Just standing in the boots is working on your core muscles, but when you move about you’re really toning everything up and getting a cardio workout. It has 80% less impact than jogging in trainers and you can start at any level.”
She believes it’s only a matter of time before we start seeing joggers rebounding their way around the town’s parks.
Sheila, who lives in Longwood , has exercised all her life but only trained as an instructor at the age of 50. She will be 58 this month and says she has never felt fitter or looked leaner.
Having battled with her weight for years she is an empathetic role model for middle aged women who want to slim down. Despite being one of the oldest instructors in town (“I’m old enough to be their gran” she says of her fellow gym teachers), she is also one of the most innovative, believing that new ways of exercising keep the punters interested and engaged.
A few years back she began running Powerhooping classes in Huddersfield, using specially weighted hula hoops. These have proved so popular and enduring that she now has several groups in the town and teaches over 100 people. In January this year she was invited to promote Powerhooping on the QVC shopping channel.
“I went on an exercise DVD at the age of 57 because most of the people buying the hoops are my age - I’m the target market,” she said. Jump Fit, she believes, is the next big thing and she’s so convinced that she has invested in 16 pairs of the boots for class members to use.
“It’s been going a few weeks now and everyone loves it. It feels a bit strange at first but once you get moving it’s easy to stay upright,” she said. Total Fitness in Waterloo is, at her request, also stocking up on boots.
Sheila believes the key to finding an exercise system that won’t be a short-lived fad is to provide something fun and changeable.
She explained: “I used to teach Zumba but Powerhooping has taken over. We do demos at galas and last year 31 of us took part in the Race for Life, hooping while running around Greenhead Park. We’re going to do the race again this year. It’s a perfect exercise for women in their 40s and 50s who don’t want to go to the gym. It whittles inches off your waistline - you can lose two inches in six weeks - and is sociable. They don’t get bored because I vary the routines. One of my ladies said to me that Powerhooping was the first exercise she’d ever stuck at and she has been doing it now for four years.”
Sheila’s hoping that Jump Fit will appeal to those who want to do something new and different. While it can be extremely energetic, it is also suitable for those who need to be careful about wear and tear on their joints.
“I wear my boots to go jogging in the park and people stop me and say that looks fun,” she said. “And it is.”
Sheila, who was born and raised in Huddersfield, used to live in Surrey and for a while commuted between North and South in order to combine work at a PR company with caring for her mum. She was widowed in 2002 and has two grown-up children.
Today she still works part-time in PR; takes up to nine exercise classes a week at a range of venues around town, including the HD3 Fitness Centre, All Saints School, Longwood Mechanics and the HD1 Dance Studios; goes ice skating in Sheffield; and spends several weeks a year skiing.
She has also trained as a masseuse and works in the The Valley Holistic & Beauty Rooms above Ruddi’s Retreat Vintage Tea Rooms in Linthwaite.
Her active lifestyle keeps her fit and healthy and she’s eager to encourage other women her age to take the first step towards being more active themselves. “You can start gradually and build up,” she says, “I know which areas women our age need to work on - places like the upper arms and inside thighs. But hooping and Jump Fit are good for anyone of any age and size.”
Sheila’s Facebook page, Sheila’s Hoopers, has details of classes.