Indie Interviews: Reclaim Movement

 In Indie Oxford Interviews

Natasha Molloy interviews Wendy Welpton, the one woman operation that is Reclaim Movement, based in Cumnor, helping people move better throughout the day.

How would you summarise what Reclaim Movement is all about?

Natural movement is a fairly new thing in the UK, it’s all about looking at the way we move all day long, to see which parts of our movement repertoire are weaker, so that we can stay strong through all our movements to age well. A big part of this for me is looking at the micro movements we’re are missing but are often unaware we’re missing.

A good example is a supposedly simple movement, like getting up off the floor. The reason people end up struggle to do this is that they stop doing it. I help people become aware of what they’re not doing in a day as much as what you are, and looking at the techniques they use when moving.

Do you currently spend more time coaching groups or 1:1 sessions?

I’m currently doing group classes which are still online as I launched during the pandemic, however I’d like to introduce more local workshops, hence joining Indie Oxford! I also do private sessions at my studio at home, where I can use simple equipment to help people also improve necessary skills like balancing, and stepping over objects, walking well and a lot more!

Awesome, and what are your plans for the business going forward?

I’d like to work more in person, I feel connecting with nature is an important part of it, therefore I’d like to do more outdoor workshops, and I’m always happy to come and talk to people, groups or organisations. I’m currently planning a workshop for gardeners. I’ve started vegetable and flower gardening this year myself, and it made me realise that being a gardeners was a great reason to get down to and move around on the ground. Therefore, if we want to garden for life we need to be good at getting up and down from the ground and moving well, and of course, lifting well; a key skill to master in gardening and general life. 

 I’m also looking forward to hopefully collaborating with some indie businesses.

It sounds like rewarding work, what has been a key part of your journey so far?

I think recognising that it really isn’t a factor of your age. I’ve had some wonderful elderly clients who are really aware of losing their mobility, and therefore losing the ability to do the things that they love. I have really enjoyed learning from them and empowering them to give them ways to move more confidently and maintain their mobility. I’ve also been surprised by having quite a few younger clients (even in their 30s), but these are people who are often sat a desk for long hours and don’t realise how moving regularly and sitting well are just as important as taking their allotted ‘exercise’ quota. 

What was your background before moving into this line of work?

I was in wine marketing, however I’ve always been active and enjoyed movement, loved running, and therefore when I hit injury, it had a massive impact on my life that I now realise was an early wake up call. I had to find out what was wrong with my body and why it wasn’t working as I was determined not be in pain for the rest of my life.

Tell us more about that turning point…

I used to enjoy running, but then, after lots of warning signals I tried to ignore, I woke up one night unable to walk. I was given little medical and found myself in a chronic pain cycle that lasted 4 years. During that time I searched and read as much as I could about why I was suffering the way I was. I found out I’m hypermobile and with lots of rehabilitation I started to improve. I decided I had to find a way to move for life that keep me mobile but also strong (which is hugely important for this who have hypermobile joints), and that’s when I stumbled across Natural Movement.

Along the way, I met so many people who were suffering with chronic pain. It’s obviously a physical issue, but also great affects your mental health. It’s very frustrating, limiting and affects your confidence, particularly as I had 3 boys who wanted me to join in and play with them and I couldn’t because of the pain I would be in.

Thankfully it’s very different now as I have found joy in moving again and I’ll never take my movement for granted. The kids laugh at me balancing on a log, or hanging from a tree, but then they join in and I’m so grateful to now be able to! I learned a lot from Katie Bowman around Nutritious Movement, and MoveNat, who I’m certified by. I began training and became certified in 2019, in 2020 started coaching friends and family, then in that September I started to run my business, coaching classes and clients privately.

 Did you notice the pandemic having a negative impact on your clients mobility?

Absolutely, people were saying a lot of things like “stiff” and “creaky”. Often people were ticking the “one walk a day” box which was great, but not realising that actually, all the other hours of the day are just as important. I know from my own life, that if I’ve got to keep remembering a list of exercises to do daily it’s not likely to happen, so I try to make it really practical, so that people are moving in different shapes and ways when they are doing other jobs anyway particularly around the house, by ‘stacking’ movement on top of a regular task.

Tell us more about stacking movement…

So it’s adding a new behaviour to your daily schedule, for example, when I’m at the washing machine that’s where I’ll do my squat, when I’m doing my teeth, I have a half foam dome to do my calf stretching morning and night. I always put my trousers on standing up and add in a few extra moments of balance when I do. In the kitchen I might do a calf raise or balancing move. I am also a big fan of using the floor as a handy piece of training equipment. Most of us rarely visit the ground as we age, but getting down and up there is so strengthening and moving there helps with joint mobility just by being there. I highly recommend a dose of vitamin floor daily, to be able to get up from the floor as we age. Generally, I try to help people see the other ways they can do things. It’s all about looking at the frequency of movement and the shapes we make with your body.

So, if people want to start working with you, how would they get started?

They can absolutely drop in to a group session, I do 30 minutes and 45 minute sessions. My 30 minute sessions are more appropriate for entry level and the longer 45 minutes on a Wednesday evening is slightly more challenging, incorporating a really practical element such as, how you could be doing your washing differently to create those additional shapes with your body, so that it’s seen as a little exercise routine rather than just a chore, which in turn hopefully makes it a little more tolerable, particularly when washing hundreds of pairs of boxer shorts a day as I do!

So, where should people go to see more?

Either my website, or Instagram would be the best place to go for the best flavour, that’s where I’ve focused my main messages, as it lends itself to video content, so it’s easier to see what I do, and understand the educational aspect.

Any particular Oxford Indie’s that you like?

I’m fairly new to the community and have met some lovely businesses through the meet-ups I’ve attended, and before I joined I was familiar with Happy Cakes, as with 3 kids there’s often a need for great bakes. I also met up with Katie Gordon at Every Body Studio and hope to set up a workshop there.

Thank you so much for your time Wendy, we’ll keep our eyes peeled for your workshops and collaborations!

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