77-year old Eddie Brocklesby, aka The Irongran, is the UKs oldest Ironman triathlete. Through Silverfit, the charity she founded in 2013, Eddie is on a mission to promote happier, healthier ageing through physical activity, and at the same time, combat social isolation.
The Silverfit mission was severely compromised in March, when the coronavirus pandemic forced the immediate shut-down of all gatherings and group exercise. On March 27th, Eddie had to suspend all Silverfit sessions indefinitely. Thousands of Silverfit members across nine London boroughs lost their community – one that is critical to both their physical and mental health.
In an effort to continue keeping older people active, Eddie and her team have launched Silverfit @Home, a series of online workouts from Silverfit instructors that people can follow in the comfort of their own home with little or no equipment required.
Why You Should Care
With older people in the highest risk category for coronavirus, many are self-isolating to safeguard their health. But lack of physical activity coupled with social isolation can have devastating outcomes. Research has linked social isolation and loneliness to higher risks of physical and mental conditions, a weakened immune system, anxiety and depression. And given that 3.8 million people over the age of 65 live alone, the risks to health are immense.
Why We Need Your Help
We believe in the power of physical activity, so we are offering this content free of charge, with no restrictions. However, we need additional funding to maintain our goal of creating new, daily videos and compensating our extremely talented instructors. Content will include yoga, Nordic Walking, Pilates, meditation and silver cheerleading as well as exercises to keep those walking football skills ready for a return to weekly sessions.
Funding will also help us restart activities when the time is right, allowing us to continue offering regular sessions at lower capacity.
Money raised through this Crowdfund will also help us develop additional communications materials to get the word out more broadly and allow us to investigate non-Wi-Fi options for those that may not have the technical abilities or access to YouTube. And finally, funds raised will help us purchase pedometers for Silverfit members to take part in an upcoming community challenge.
With your help, this is just the start.
Here is a taster of what the Silverfit @Home sessions look like:
For more videos from Silverfit @Home, click here.
What People are Saying About Silverfit @Home
“Just want to say a big thanks to Silverfit for putting these exercise routines together. I’m doing them every day and they are keeping me fit.”
- Diane Brown
"I am enjoying the cheerleading videos - can’t wait for more to come. All the stuff you have put on has been a life line as I cannot go out, I am on the high risk list so it’s been my salvation."
- Lee Kempster
“It is a positive thing to do and encouraging us all the stay active and knowing that everyday at 10am there’s a exercise class going on to suit ones liking. Thank you for the group who is organising the videos."
“Loved this! I've always wanted to try Zumba, and now I can do it with no-one watching!”
- Pat England
“I am really enjoying the cheerleading videos with Zoe. Struggling to always keep up but love the music. Do them most days. I even made pom poms to use”
“Yay my old Tai Chi teacher! Can confirm that Michael really knows the art, and even though circumstances have meant that I can no longer attend his class, I would like to personally thank him for setting me correctly on the path. I still practice 3 or 4 times a week.”
- Robert Melia
Silverfit's Impact on the Community
Marjorie Barnes Testimonial 30/12/2019
"I started Nordic Walking when I joined Silverfit in April/May2017, a friend suggested I join Silverfit and try it as I have a longstanding back problem. I have a scoliosis in my lower spine, prolapsed discs and a short left leg, I also use a walking stick and receive treatment to manage pain. I took early retirement primarily due to my back problem. I never thought I would be able to take part in a Half Marathon let alone walk the whole route of the Big Half Marathon in 2018. I had back surgery toward the end of 2018 to address some of my pain issues. I recovered and entered my second half marathon in 2019 and cut 30 minutes off my first time. Joining Silverfit has changed my life for the better , I have made new friends, gained confidence to try different exercises. I’ve got my freedom back and am looking forward to the next half marathon in 2020."
From Val Hampson, 78
"I love Silverfit – it’s very good for everybody! All the people that come appreciate everything that Edwina does and how she’s come on this journey and done marvellously. I love walking football and spin bike, which makes me feel very good.
Walking football is great exercise, meeting people, going out after we finished and having coffee. When it’s someone’s birthday we have a cake! It’s just meeting people and making a lot of friends. It’s the same at spin bike – we are now a group and class ourselves as friends.
Fridays Millwall Football – there are only about 4 women now and we play with the men.
I tell people it’s very good and people say “how can you do that at your age?” but it’s not just that, it’s competing and being part of it all that I think is very good. If I score a goal it makes me feel good. It’s just good to be able to do it and that I am still able to go there and enjoy it."
Dr Edwina (aka Eddie) Brocklesby is the CE/founder of Silverfit Charity and is the oldest British woman to have completed an Ironman triathlon at the age of 74. She has spent the last twenty years taking part in marathons, triathlons and Ironman races across the globe, has represented GB in many European and World triathlon and duathlon championships, cycled in a 4 women relay of over 3000 miles across America and completed five further Ironman triathlons.
Edwina founded Silverfit in 2013, a charity devoted to increasing physical activity and social inclusion for older people – having fun. It has gone from strength to strength and is now a success in 17 venues across 9 London boroughs, with over 500 attending sessions every week, and a high retention rate she puts down to the socialising element.
In April 2018 Brocklesby became a published author with the release of her autobiography, Irongran. Leading to a wide range of coverage on TV, Radio, and in national and local newspapers and multiple magazines.
Born in 1943 Edwina was a social worker for 50 years, educated at the University of Nottingham with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and then the University of Leicester with a PhD relating to Adoption and Contact in 2009. Edwina is a mother of three and grandmother of four and in the recent New Year’s Honours list she received the British Empire Medal for services to the Health and Wellbeing of older people.