Richard Branson has a motto 'screw it -just do it' which he says challenges the Pavlovian response of 'no' or 'let me think about it' when asked a question. So when I was asked to present at a conference I said yes. Here's how it went.
Playing catch up on my blog pieces here BUT really didn't want to miss the opportunity to share with you my experience at the Later Life Training Conference back in November, which was so good it's taken me until February to recover. Ok so it wasn't that wild, but it was a significant experience and it's taken until now for me to find the time to write a piece that will do the event justice.
For those of you who haven't heard of Later Life Training (LLT) before, they are a provider of specialist, evidence based, effective exercise training for health and exercise professionals working with older people, frailer older people and stroke survivors. It's all about a passion for translating research into practice to improve the lives of older people. And boy does research need translating. Between longitudinal vs cross sectional studies and randomised controlled trials and double blind studies, it can be hard to know where to start especially when you know that reading the introduction and summary sections of the studies that make it into your subscription journals, isn't quite going to cut it. Simply put, these guys show you how to make the evidence usable in your work in health and social care and the world of fitness and exercise.
Here's a quick video promo of the kind of work they do at LLT.
The 2016 Conference held in Coventry is the fourth conference since Later Life Training began back in 2003. Everything took place over one day with a schedule of workshops and presentations to choose from and aims to provide a platform for candidates to update knowledge, network, share experience and to let rip on the two buffet meals as though their life depended on it. Top tip, take your own extra large plate.
What was set to be an informative and relaxing day was somewhat disrupted for me by being invited to co-present one of the workshops. What? Really? A sucker for flattery and a a big fan of the Richard Branson advice 'If someone offers you an amazing opportunity and you're not sure you can do it, say yes - then learn how to do it later', I agreed and so my endeavour to overcome imposter syndrome, a common condition for entrepreneurs I'm told, began.
I was asked to co-present the workshop titled 'Osteoporosis - The do's and don'ts of working with fragile bones' alongside LLT Director and guru to physiotherapists all over the world, Professor Dawn Skelton who has an honorary doctorate for Umea University in Sweden for her work with exercise and older people AND in 2016 was honoured by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy with an Hon Fellowship AND in the same year she was also awarded a Fellowship from the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh. Gulp. In the world of physiotherapy, this is the equivalent of an x-factor hopeful being asked to duet with Beyonce. But ok, let's do this, Richard Branson thinks it's a fabulous idea.
After an almost hilarious comedy introduction to the conference in the style of the Two Ronnies from Dawn Skelton and Bex Townley (the tumbleweed was coincidental), another LLT Director and Tutor and to whom I owe this opportunity there was an informative keynote speech from the National Exercise Referral Co-ordinator in Wales regarding assessing readiness for exercise using PARQ plus, and a Research Update on Postural Stability FaME with visually impaired older people from Professor Dawn Skelton.
I attended the 'Grey Pound Pilates' workshop led by Sheila Done from the Pilates Studio Glossop which introduced instructors to new ideas for their classes to promote health and well-being for the older clients through functional Pilates exercises. Having completed a foundation level training in Pilates exercises a few years ago, I took the opportunity to update my knowledge. I hadn't anticipated just how poorly I would perform in this workshop, with three caesarean sections since my initial training, and I was forced to rediscover that my core control was well, out of control. I have since begun working with a Pilates Instructor back in Devon and am diligently doing my exercises just like I expect my own clients to do. Big thanks to Sheila and her workshop for inspiring me to take control again.
Osteoporosis was something of a theme to the day with every delegate being given a pair of orange shoelaces from the National Osteoporosis Society to highlight their Lace Up for Bones Campaign. The bright laces draw attention from my clients and give me an opportunity to discuss bone health during our sessions. There was also something quite bonding about all of the delegates wearing their laces together on the day.
After lunch it was our turn to present our Osteoporosis workshop with some stiff competition from the other workshops particularly of 'CPD in a Social Media Age' with Janet Thomas. After the background research was translated by Dawn and myself and some interesting group discussion, I was very impressed with the sharing of knowledge and ideas on how to prescribe safe exercise for bone health for a variety of populations during our case study practical session. And once I'd overcome the nerves, it turned out I'm not an imposter at all, but somebody with a lot of practical experience of working with people with osteoporosis gained over 17 years as a physiotherapist. I had survived, I hadn't vomited. Result.
The third workshop options were 'Remotely monitored OTAGO based Exergames', SMART MOVES The Living Tai Chi App, Sarcopenia and Frailty, Inspired by Yoga and Clinical Gait Assessment Made Easy. All reason enough to be able to clone oneself so as not to miss anything. I took a breather and met with the fabulous Bob Laventure, another LLT Director who taught me everything I know about Functional Fitness MOT's (see previous blog post on FFMOT) to hatch some plans. Watch this space.
This was also an opportunity for me to watch the behind the scenes business of the LLT Team. The event was expertly put together by the LLT team especially Louise and David who were all over every detail and kept me and everyone else where we should be at the right times and with the right equipment, and all with a smile.
At the end of a packed day, we were rewarded with a hearty buffet meal and a last chance to swap details and network with other delegates and tutors.
I was made to feel very welcome by all of the team at LLT, Directors, Tutors and backstage staff alike and made strides in combating my imposter syndrome with this great opportunity. Here I am with Sheila attempting some subliminal advertising trying to get my business card into photos of the day. Richard Branson made me do it!
If you were there, I'd love to know the ONE key piece of information you took away from the event and embedded into your practice as a result. Or tell me about a time you said just said "Yes" to a career opportunity. Please leave a comment below.