‘If our clients can't come to us for exercise, we’ll go to them’

Melanie Pothof from Fysio4You was at home on Friday 20 March and saw a video on Facebook: an instructor held a workout lesson from a rooftop for the residents of the flat who followed the class from their balconies. ‘We have to do this too, she decided.’ Her colleagues at the practice made posters and hung them up at the flats nearby. The following Monday, the entire team was on the field in front of the Zernikeplaats building with a megaphone. ‘At least a hundred residents participated. It made us very enthusiastic and happy.’


If our clients can’t come to us, we’ll go to them?

‘Exactly. We normally offer private treatments and group classes at our practice. The private treatments are for clients with musculoskeletal complaints and for clients who need rehabilitation after surgery. The group classes are rehabilitation training. We have given our private clients tailor-made exercises and we can supervise them via video calling, but that doesn’t work with the exercise group. But we want to do what we are good at and keep people exercising.’

Was that your motivation for imitating the video?

‘Yes. And also, because our clients are generally older people, they hardly leave their homes at the moment and see very few acquaintances. A large proportion of our clients live in the Zernikeplaats and Niels Bohrplaats apartments, close to us. With this weekly exercise class, we give them something to look forward to.’

How do you do it?

‘They are large flats, so we distribute our entire team across the lawn. That way everyone can see us. We teach with the help of a megaphone. We have two so we can alternate. Other colleagues do the exercises. Monday 23 March was the first trial lesson. We noticed that we had too few people downstairs to give everyone in the flat a good view. Afterwards, we asked if several people from the flat wanted to participate on the field and that is now happening.’

What do you do in the lesson?

‘We do a kind of “Nederland in Beweging”, the daily exercise programme on the NPO channel. We give two 25-minute classes every Monday. At noon at the Niels Bohrplaats and 12:30 at the Zernikeplaats. Even though it rained on the first Monday, many elderly people, couples and families participated. I even saw a father with a baby in a baby carrier. Many of the elderly people who participated even did the Jumping Jacks. We were really surprised by that.’

How have people reacted to this?

‘Positively. People call out to us or phone us to say they appreciate it. They also send messages via social media or e-mail. That’s not why we do it and it’s not necessary, but it’s heart-warming. And it helped spread the news. We now also give a class once a week at the 55+ flat Varenhof and the Soderblomflat.’

You are popular. Will you continue with this after Corona?

‘No, I don’t think so. It was a spontaneous idea and we will continue as long as the situation continues and as long as people are still enthusiastic. But as soon as we can start in our practice again, I think we will stop.’

Text: Esther Wienese
Photo credits: Fysio4You

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