Dancing with a rollator

Bonnie Groenewout has danced her whole life but when she got ill a few years back she thought she will not be able to practice anymore. But never say never!

Soon she discovered the handlebar of her rollator is a perfect barre for dancing exercises and that enabled her to even start teaching rollator dancing classes. Dancing helps to stay fit – also in coronavirus times.

This story is not only about Bonnie. It could be about anybody using a rollator and still wanting to stay fit, but not being able to go for a walk or to the gym. Or someone who is forced to stay inside due to circumstances. Doing a few simple exercises while holding your rollator will benefit your muscles and health. And moving  while dancing can be a lot of fun!

Going back to Bonnie, three years ago the doctor advised her to buy a rollator. As she was using a temporary/borrowed one at that time Bonnie saw that as a setback. But she did indeed need one and started searching online.

Two rollators looked the best design-wise but she liked the story of one more than the other. Bonnie recognize herself in the idea of using a modern walking aid which was designed to not look like a rollator. The pushing bar made it look cool, so she bought the Rollz Flex with the denim grey bag.

‘I could dance again!’

At some point she got asked to teach dancing again. It was sacred dance or circle dance, literally explained as dancing in a circle.

‘I started practicing in front of the mirror with my Rollz Flex as support and quickly noticed how small its turning radius is. I could also easily step aside it because the rollator does not have anything that stays in your way. Even some quick waltz steps with a lot of turns worked out. And instead of the barre at the wall I used the pushing bar of the Rollz Flex for support. I could dance again,’ Bonnie said.

‘People who saw me doing it said they want to do it too. They asked if I could teach them how to dance with their rollator. So now I give dancing classes with the help of my rollator.’

Bonnie made this recording to cheer a friend up by showing a few dance moves. She also sent it to Rollz as inspiration for other rollator users. Thanks Bonnie!

Practical and safe

Bonnie thinks her rollator is also very practical as she cannot walk or carry much but most of the times she needs to bring a lot of stuff and medicine. ‘They easily fit in the bag of my Rollz Flex and nobody sees what I am carrying because the zippers are closed. That is also safe as nobody can get anything out of the bag unnoticed.’

‘It gives me the freedom to do daily groceries and that way my daily walks have a purpose. Back home I ride straight into the kitchen and I do not have to lift any bags. So convenient.’

‘You should see her when she is shopping clothes’, her partner adds. ‘She puts the handlebar up and hangs on it everything that she would like to try out. That way she has her own mobile clothing rack.’

Prejudiced about rollators

Looking back on her hesitation to use a rollator she says: ‘I was prejudiced against rollators. Just as I was about our current seniors apartment. I thought I didn’t belong there, I didn’t see myself as a senior (even though I am) and now I enjoy living there. I also joined the “avondvierdaagse voor minder validen” (a Dutch walking event where participants walk for four days – a version that focuses on disabled participants) with my rollator. Cool thing you got there, other participants told me.’

Bonnie has no problem showing herself with the Rollz Flex now. Shortly after buying her design rollator she took it for a ride in a shopping center and while walking around she saw a pink carpet. ‘Immediately I started walking on it, looking proudly at myself in the mirrored shop windows: look at me! It appeared to be a catwalk for a bridal show and suddenly a couple of models in bridal attire came walking over the carpet.’

Who wants to dance along? It can also be done from home

The dance classes that Bonnie would normally teach are now canceled due to corona, as are all the other group activities in the Netherlands. To comfort the ladies who would have normally joined the lesson but are now at home she said: ‘I dance Tuesday morning around 10:00 in my living room for you.’

A couple of people immediately responded they would like to join.

‘It’s always possible to stay active with your walker but it gets better when you put the music on,’ the dance teacher says from experience.

‘Make a dance out of it and then a boring exercise becomes fun. Music inspires and connects, you see it with the people who were home isolated in Italy due to corona crisis and sang from their windows. So I call on people: push the chairs aside, play some music and dance – you can do it with your rollator!’

The lucky clover dance

In times like these we can all use some luck. That is why Bonnie made a choreography inspired by the clover to dance it with her Rollz Flex. You can dance it anywhere you can create some space to move. With your steps you draw all the four leaves and the steam of the clover on the floor.

The steps can be adjusted as desired – small or big – and the dance can be done either in a meditating silent way or in the rhythm of your favorite music.

The lucky clover can be danced on different types of music as it can be done in four-four or in three-four time, like in a waltz. Then you dance each “leaf” (once or twice) starting with the round part and finishing with the straigt steps. Make something nice out of it, but most of all: enjoy!

In the video below Bonnie explains the choreography of the lucky clover dance in a drawing.

If you also want to dance with your rollator, make sure to first discuss this option with your physiotherapist.

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