You Can Teach an Old Dog New Tricks!

We all know that it is important to keep active both physically and mentally as we age to ensure we can continue to enjoy a full life. You could of course go to regular fitness classes and do the daily cross word and sudoku to achieve this in fact the possibilities are literally endless. However, it is just as important to remain socially active and the sad truth is that as lifestyles have evolved many members of the older generation do not have friends and family living nearby and so ageing can also become isolating.

At Sweet Circus we believe the key is to never stop playing, when young children play they make friends, when older children play it is often a more structured activity such as sport, although their social time and social media is also a form of play.  Adults play too – be it sport, reading, dinning or socialising, even singing along to the car stereo is a form of play. Playing socially is the most enjoyable way of exercising both body and brain, and if the social aspect is lost, then often the play comes to a bit of a stop too.

Social Circus is an effective way to combat this loss of play, and I am really looking forward to developing social circus opportunities for the 50+ community. Social Circus is a non-competitive environment, where people are encouraged to learn and practice at their own pace and support each other.  The aim is to have some fun and meet some new people while giving your brain and body a future proofing workout!

Let’s consider the benefits of circus. Take juggling for example, as with many circus skills, the process of learning this age old trick engages both the left and right brain simultaneously. This creates new connections or pathways in the brain which can help maintain memory and thinking skills. Handling the balls maintains dexterity and fine motor skills, while the throw and catch action is developing your hand eye coordination. Understanding and being able to accomplish a juggling pattern requires you to form a mental map of the process, exercising the brain, and develop the muscle memory to perform it, thus exercising the body. While juggling can be very low impact and gentle, it is still a whole body movement which requires posture and balance, both of which you develop through practise, and in doing so you are improving your balance, strength and stability. And, continually picking up dropped balls will definitely help keep you fit. Working on partner or group juggling takes all this up another level adding communication and social benefits to the list.  So, what seems to be a slightly silly and fun activity is actually future proofing your brain and body, and you probably won’t even notice.

But, perhaps, the best benefit of learning some circus is the opportunity to impress your children and grandchildren, inspire them and have them want to learn it from you. You see you can teach an old dog new tricks, and an old dog can also teach them to a young one!

Better known for our Family Circus Play at local events, children’s classes and our shop in the Enterprise Centre, we are now trialling 50+ social circus and hope to eventually make it a culture of our town.

50+ Social Circus will be running for the next few Wednesdays at St. Elisabeth’s Church in Old Town at 2pm. Visit  / email for more info.