Simple movements like sitting down or getting up are often taken for granted. But as we get older, we start to lose our ability to perform them.
Portimão physiotherapist Joel Fernandes realised this when his grandmother fell one night in 2012 and was unable to get up until his mother found her on the floor the next day.
Surprised that she was unable to get up on her own, Joel decided to dive deeper into his studies and found out that many people “of a certain age” also struggle with this ‘basic movement’ – getting up.
After years of research, courses, training and trial-and-error, the 42-year-old physiotherapist created his own unique programme, which he calls Movement Beyond Fifty (MBF).
By training people to complete basic human movements such as squatting, lunging, pushing, turning and reaching, Joel hopes to not only “improve their movement health in order to live a more fulfilling life” but also prepare them to deal with situations like that which affected his grandmother, should they occur.
“These are basic human movements, and we all need the basics, from top athletes such as Cristiano Ronaldo to those whose only physical activity is taking the dog for a walk,” says Joel, who has worked twice as the physiotherapist for local club Portimonense and now runs his own private practice at Vila Rosa in Praia da Rocha.
“If someone struggles to squat, they will likely struggle to sit on a chair or toilet, get in and out of a car, or pick up objects that have dropped on the floor,” he adds.
While MBF was created with older people in mind, Joel says that anyone can benefit from these exercises and working on their mobility, stability, coordination, balance, cardio and strength.
The programme draws inspiration from several methodologies and findings from different studies, which clearly show that maintaining the ability to stand up and lie down on the floor, independently, is important for us to age in a healthy and active way.
And that is why the MBF exercises are performed on the floor.
“Some people find it strange to sit or lie on the floor because, as adults, we lose our familiarity with it – we grow further away from the floor as we get older. If you look at children, they are always playing on the floor. Adults have lost that connection, and that is when our physical decline begins,” he explains.
The MBF programme was initially designed with the Algarve’s expat community in mind, as Joel believed that foreign residents would be more open about these “out-of-the-box” exercises.
But as the word started to spread, Joel has been welcoming more and more Portuguese clients, with his clientele now divided almost equally between foreigners and Portuguese.
Joel has created a website where people can learn more about MBF, see some of his clients’ testimonies and become a subscriber, with access to the private MBF Facebook Group, where MBF classes and tutorials are posted. Tutorials are posted on Sunday while a new class is posted every Monday. All information and videos are posted in English.
You can learn more about MBF by visiting www.movementbeyondfifty.com. There is also a YouTube channel (@movementbeyondfifty1773) where Joel posts free videos. You can also follow MBF on Facebook (www.facebook.com/MovementBeyondFifty) and Instagram (www.instagram.com/movementbeyondfifty/).