Move It or Lose It® celebrates their 10th anniversary at this year’s Healthy Ageing Conference

With Move It or Lose It!®’s Healthy Ageing Conference  coming up (8 April), along with belated 10th birthday celebrations, we thought it would be a great time to catch up with Julie Robinson, Founder of Move It or Lose It!®, and find out a little more about what makes her tick!

MIOLI’s mission is to help people to stay independent and to improve their mental health.  Julie wants to make exercise fun so that people look forward to it and exercise without even realising!

Julie has always been keen on all kinds of physical activity and was a PE teacher at secondary and primary schools.  During her late forties two things happened which prompted her to reassess what she was doing – firstly she wanted to do something different from teaching in schools, and secondly she wanted to be able to help keep her elderly parents as fit and active as she could.  Julie undertook training in chair-based exercise – Extend® – and also studied for a Level 3 Exercise Referral qualification.

Once Julie started teaching, she realised how much she enjoyed it and gained great satisfaction hearing from class participants who, thanks to the classes, were able to get up stairs again, or could walk the dog and generally were able to ‘start living again’.

The demand for Julie’s classes increased so much that she produced her first DVD to satisfy the need and in 2010 Move It or Lose It!® was born.  Julie was able to engage with Professor Janet Lord FMedSci, Director of the Institute of Inflammation and Ageing, University of Birmingham, who has published countless research articles proving how maintaining strength and balance contributes to healthy (and enjoyable) ageing.

Julie then worked to transform MIOLI into a training provider as well so that she would be able to train more instructors to satisfy the increased demand.  She worked with EMD UK to gain endorsement for her training product – offering certified FABS (Flexibility, Aerobic, Balance and Strength) instructors a ‘fun, rewarding and flexible career’.  Instructors can find that the classes offer an opportunity to fill in time slots during the days when they would not otherwise be busy, or prolong their careers by switching to a lower intensity style of class.

The aim was to create a ‘one stop shop’ by offering FABS, seated exercise and assisted standing all together in one class along with games and activities to create a fun place to be.  Music is a key part of creating the ‘lovely, happy classes’ that Julie is keen to provide for everyone.

Julie wishes to extend the FABS programme so it is available in more areas around the country with classes provided in places such as village halls or community centres.  As these are potentially already familiar to would-be participants, they would feel more comfortable in coming along.

The Tackling Inequalities Fund enabled Julie to set up The Club – which proved invaluable for anyone unable to leave their homes, or for anyone who didn’t feel comfortable attending a face-to-face class.  Through The Club Julie has created a warm and friendly community with access to Q&A sessions with, for example, physios and pharmacists, a book club, quizzes, four live MIOLI sessions a week and over 100 on-demand sessions.  With the return to face-to-face classes, many people found that participating in the online Club sessions during lockdown had maintained their wellness, balance and confidence and helped prevent muscle loss.  The Club currently has over 250 members, with many of them commenting on what a lifeline it has been and continues to be.

Julie is thrilled to be [belatedly] celebrating Move It or Lose It’s tenth birthday with cakes and prosecco (of course!) at this year’s Conference in Birmingham on the 8 April.  Tickets are available now via Move It or Lose It’s website, with a discount available for members of EMD UK (use code EMD10). Presentations include the latest research on active ageing and practical information for instructors to share with their participants as they already have a friendly relationship built on trust.  Eminent speakers at the conference include

  • Professor Sir Muir Gray – Move it or Lose it to Prevent, Regain and Reverse it
  • Professor Janet Lord FMedSci – The Long Tail of Covid
  • Professor Janice L. Thompson PhD, FACSM, FECSS – Type 2 Diabetes Prevention and Management: Food vs Activity
  • Maggy Pigott CBE FRSA – How to Age Joyfully
  • Dr Sally A M Fenton PhD – Supporting physical activity in long-term health conditions

You can read more about their expertise here.  The conference is also a great opportunity to keep in touch with many of the MIOLI instructors who are expected to share in the celebrations.

Move It or Lose It!® currently has over 200 instructors and new instructors are always welcomed.