'Wallflowers' banned as Padiham based dance classes aimed at keeping fit fun for people with special needs are an instant hit

No 'wallflowers' are allowed at a new dance fitness session that is aimed at people with learning disabilities.

Wednesday, 10th November 2021, 3:45 pm

Launched as covid restrictions eased, the Sh'Bam sessions are playful, fun and energetic and have proved to be a lifeline and an instant hit for many people who have missed their regular workout classes during lockdown.

The one hour session is held at Padiham Leisure Centre every Tuesday at 1-15pm and, so far, the classes have been packed.

Sarah Drinkwater, who is operations manager and head of fitness said: "After Covid-19 we were approached by so many people who were unable to attend their learning disability activities because many places were so restricted that they didn’t re-start any of their sessions.

The Les Mills Sh'Bam dance sessions at Padiham Leisure Centre, for people with learning disabilities, are proving to be very popular

"So, we took the opportunity to try something new and this has made such an impact and it's fantastic to see so many people enjoying the sessions."

Dance offers many physical and mental benefits, including sharpening your memory as you learn the steps and helping to strengthen your body.

It's also beneficial for children and adults with autism, learning disabilities and other conditions such as ADHD or social anxiety.

The Sh'Bam dance classes were designed by Les Mills, a former Olympian, who launched his own fitness programme over 50 years ago that has become world famous.

The Les Mills Sh'Bam dance sessions at Padiham Leisure Centre, for people with learning disabilities, are proving to be very popular

Sarah added: "The feedback from participants highlights their enjoyment from dancing.

"It also shows the benefits, including making friends, building confidence, helping with balance, concentration and improving fitness.

"The group may have different disabilities but what they all have in common is a desire to dance and have fun."

Running alongside the dance class is an alternative fitness swim held at the leisure centre every Monday from 10-45am for an hour.