Ex fitness coach aged 87 says care home inspires him to walk again

Care home resident Ken leads the popular ‘Star Moves with Ken’ exercise class at Royal Star & Garter in Surbiton care home and says being an instructor again has already helped him stand for the first time since December 2020. 

Classes give me 'hope' I will walk again

The resident learned to stand during a physiotherapy session at his care home and now says the exercise classes he hosts "keep me going and give me the hope I will achieve my goal to walk again.” 

During his career, Ken was a qualified YMCA weight trainer and taught low-impact aerobics for people aged 60+. His exercise classes are adapted from these and are approved by the care home’s physiotherapist Nirali Dave. 

Having served in the Royal Army Ordnance Corps from 1952-54, Ken said: “As I’ve always been a relatively fit and healthy person, it came as a bit of a shock when I was taken ill and my legs gave way in 2020. 

“So it means a hell of a lot to me that I can do these classes, and that people trust me and are willing to come to training every day – it’s a huge compliment.” 

Ken’s fitness class involves simple sit-down exercises aimed at improving mobility and boosting residents’ wellbeing. All the exercises are body warm-up exercises aimed at reducing stiffness and promoting circulation. 

Ken says his classes have more than a physical impact on residents. “It brings people together as a group. It’s a social thing and a boost for physical and mental wellbeing. We motivate each other. It doesn’t matter if they can’t do everything – I tell them to only do what feels comfortable.” 

The classes are 25 minutes long, take place six days a week and attract up to 10 care home residents per session. Nirali Dave, physiotherapist at Royal Star & Garter in Surbiton care home, which cares for veterans and their partners, said: “Ken is doing a great job. I think it’s a really good idea to do chair-based exercises, and it’s very popular with residents.”