I jumped - no hands in the first jumping exercises - but not so good with the feet back and forth and jumping - yet...Onward and Upwards! I love all the variety that you put into the classes - Friday on the floor legs apart stretch exercises - so good for me. The stretch and hard stuff today - such a good workout for stamina and strength - I'm sure it's why I could jump. Have to dig out my skipping rope. Thank you also for the getting-up off the floor sheet. Very helpful, not only for when I might need it -but to improve how I use my body to get up now without a chair. However you and Judy decide to do things, count me in - you have a lot on your plates, lots to organize and still lots of unknowns. Meanwhile, I am so pleased to hear you are taking time off - however brief. You have given us so much, we'll survive - take all the time you need! Thanks again!
Pat June 2020
We thank you for such good info on things to do everyday, the teaching you Judy do each class and for just being so kind to us all. Was very impressed with the class this am. Even though my " iliopsoas " doesn't like all of the exercises I was able to do what I could.
Bev P June 2020.
A Good Thing Happened on Thursday
Thursday morning started as usual, catching up with world events. While sipping my coffee, I heard the relentless pulse of up-beat music coming from outside. Of course, I had to go out onto my balcony, which overlooks Highland Boulevard, to check it out, pink housecoat, messy hair and all. Across the road, at the bus stop, was the source of the ruckus ⎯ a ghetto-blaster. Spaced appropriately apart, on both sides of the road and facing Amica, were enthusiastic members of an exercise class doing their thing to the music.
Two of these ladies spotted me and came directly under my balcony, one eccentrically dressed in a pink tutu and cowboy hat. In no time I was bopping along and clapping my hands to the music. All around there was an unmistakable air of mutual understanding and empathy. Passing motorists honked their horns, and a huge, heavy construction truck added to the joyous sounds with blasts of its silver horn as it laboured up the hill. For a rare moment, all of us were united in our current world-wide anxiety. I went back into our suite feeling a mixture of emotions, and for the first time in this strange interlude in our lives, my eyes were moist.
Sue F April 2020
Surefeet Better Balance Classes! (at West Vancouver Senior Activity Centre)
PLEASE PAY ATTENTION - THESE ARE TERRIFIC BALANCE CLASSES!
I am a Senior with problematic balance issues, an unwanted neuropathy diagnosis and a low tolerance for “exercise classes”. When I was referred to SUREFEET, I went very reluctantly! I quickly became an avid supporter. Regardless of age, diagnosis or specific balance issues-SUREFEET will, most likely, make a significant difference to your quality of life too.
Susan and Judy have developed a unique approach to the management of balance issues and the extremely crucial role that informed exercise plays in that. In my layman’s terms, what I mean by informed exercise is a focus on pain reduction, safety, strength and correct performance of exercises. That’s what I was expecting when I enrolled in SUREFEET about a year ago. I got all of that. However, what I was not expecting was the micro breakdown of each exercise, the specific muscles involved and how those movements done correctly, contributed to balance and safety in everyday life activity. In other words, I really began to understand the process of falling, stumbling, managing stairs and uneven ground, and how my posture, specific muscle weakness, lack of spatial awareness and an unfocused mind contributed to that. Their demonstrations of those disasters and their causes are graphic and remain in my mind as do their preventative solutions.
I have found the cognitive component of these unique classes to be at least as important as the exercises themselves. It is also true for my classmates. That’s what we talk about as we take a well-earned rest over coffee- yes, we work hard and the positive results are striking. That is why I have taken the trouble to write this note. I still dislike exercises- but I am so much better that it would be idiotic to stop!
So if you have concerns about balance, falling and being hurt or struggling to get up, come to SUREFEET. Nothing to lose – and you too might find BETTER BALANCE!
Pat West Vancouver 2018
This session challenged us with more complex movements. Exercises were designed to strengthen leg and core muscles, improve our balance and keep us steadier on our feet. As always Judy and Susan were enthusiastic and knowledgeable always explaining the purpose of different exercises - exercises targetted to keeping our balance and not falling. They watched us carefully ready to prevent wobbles turning into falls. They encouraged us and helped build our confidence. They make classes FUN! We are fortunate to have these excellent instructors....they are the best!!.
Anonymous April 2017
Love the class and hope it goes on forever. THe exercises hit all the right spots.
Suzanne April 2017
I joined this class just over a year ago while still recovering from a roller-blading accident in which I had also sustained a concussion: a lifetime of fitness deteriorated quickly as a result. While attending the bi-weekly classes I gained strength, improved mobility & balance and confidence in the welcoming and supportive atmosphere created by Judy and Susan who are certified FallProof Instructors, all the while having FUN and LOTS of LAUGHS.
Louise April 2017
For the last two years I have not been able to lift my feet up off the floor while standing and after only 2 weeks, four classes with you I am now able to. I am so thrilled!
Rose March 2017
I can stand for longer, exercise more often and have better balance. I have not had a fall or consequently a break in jut over a year!
The best element of the Surefeet program is the variety of exercises and the knowledge, experience and enthusiasm of the staff.
My two instructors are outstanding. Every minute is interesting and fullfilling...... Variety! Fun! I am very grateful to be with each of them.
Beverley December 2016
Thank you for telling us about keeping our chins level. I work in the garden a lot and it really helps to keep me from falling forward and it's easy to remember. It's amazing how a small thing can make such a big change. I haven't felt safe enough to work in the garden in so long and now I can...and do!
Barb June 2016
This is a HUGE thank you for all the happy times you have given us in this delicious hour Monday and Wednesday. We look forward to every class!!
A&A June 2016
I went on a boatride this past weekend. My son and daughter-in-law helped me in and out of their speedboat four times. I would not have been able to do it had it not been for the Better Balance with Surefeet classes that I have been attending. The various exercises have made my legs so much stronger.....strong enough to do this.
Cherry May 2016
I'm really enjoying the class and finding that I'm much more flexible and stable than I was so it's doing what it needs to do.
Barb December 2015
So sorry for being away so much.....the MS has kept me away on several occasions. ....miss you and all the group so much. I know I've fallen behind the class. I am still so much further ahead than when I joined the class again in Autumn 2014...and further yet from my beginning classes with you in 2012/2013.
A most positive note, I have been doing my Surefeet/Better Balance homework every day both with the focused specific bodywork and also with applying your movement principles in my ADL (activities of daily living); functional exercise.
Sincere thanks to both of you, and all the Volunteers for helping me in regaining my strength and becoming more active. Also for being the incredible inspiring women you are; sharing your invaluable knowledge, understanding, vitality and joy with me and all your students. You are vibrant driving forces; a big part of bringing lost confidence and vitality back to my life.
With heartfelt thanks,
Kim January 2015
About 6 months ago my doctor referred me to the Falls Prevention clinic at VGH as I had fallen several times and had broken my hip the previous year. I had a thorough three hour assessment by the VGH team but unfortunately I fell playing golf and fractured my pelvis that week.
Once I was fully recovered I began the Surefeet Program in September 2014 and really enjoyed the exercises and the atmosphere created by Judy and Susan. I followed their advice and did the Super 7 exercises at home, progressing to 10 of each after a few weeks. Last week I went for my monthly check up at VGH, did one and half hours of mental and physical exercises and 1/2 hour later Dr. Larry Dian informed me that:
I had made amazing progress
my risk of falling again had gone from HIGH to MILD
3 out of the 5 tests were well over average for persons over 65 and the other 2 were slightly below average
I was thrilled but what impressed me the most was that the Surefeet Program was working on all five of the same exercises and movements I had been tested on by the VGH Team.
Amazing- job Judy and Susan!!
Janette December 2014
I do want you two to know how much I've enjoyed the sessions and getting to know the other delightful people in the class as well. That was a bonus!! The two of you complement each other so very well, determine what we need, devise ingenius methods to help us learn how to strengthen our muscles and gain confidence and progress in the ability to reach the goal of achieving better balance! Thank You. Further, you should know that I am a trained group work social worker and want to tell you that you have great abilities to create a fine-functioning, happy group of people who are hence encouraged to keep attending!! Well done.
Pat July 2014
I am a 3 year survivor of stroke who had the good fortune to discover "Better Balance" where I have gained all over strength & balance.
The classes, which are led by 2 very knowledgeable & dedicated instructors are fun and informative. Every exercise is explained as to which muscles are being targeted and why. I would like to see this program expand into care centres, hospitals & Rec Centres where more people could benefit.
A Better Balance class is the happiest place on earth!
Janet C June 2014
Dear Judy and Susan,
Thank you for your fabulous balance and mobility class this past November and December at JBCC. I didn't get to say thank you and good -bye to you all in person because snow resulted in the cancellation of the last session. I so enjoyed the program, your presentation, the participants and volunteers and I learned so much valuable information. I hope to join your 2:30 class again in the future. Thanks again for a wonderful program and experience. Best wishes and hello to everyone at 2:30 on Wednesday.
Sitting with my feet hipbone width apart....
T January 2014
You make a great team...with deep gratitude for making our exercise classes so much fun! I thank you & my legs thank you!!
J December 2013
For sure, it is a blessing for our centre to again have Susan Bock Smith and Judy Bjornson, teaching their Balance Program. They are so patient and entertaining as well. We all have smoke coming out of our ears from concentrating and creating new balance safety paths in our brains. On behalf of all the participants, I thank: Judy and Susan for being such enthusiastic and inspiring coaches........
Jane Excerpt from:Turtle Soup North Shore Stroke Recovery 2013
Susan and Judy, I want to thank you both for your wonderful teaching. Your words of wisdom echoed in my head throughout my trip to Italy and on the plane where it can be tricky to maintain balance (feet, hip-width apart!!) You kept me safe and upright in all the crowds- so thank you!!! I constantly use your wise words in my everyday life. I really enjoy your classes and always look forward to learning something new. You girls are an inspiration to me. Thank you!
Janet North Shore Stroke Recovery 2013
Surefeet provides a very worthwhile time for everyone who needs to improve their balance and muscle strength. Judy and Susan are both very knowledgeable and caring. They both have skill and insight about everyone taking the course. Not only those important qualifications, but also their sense of humour, ability to make us laugh and become personally involved with everyone, makes this experience very valuable and worthwhile."
"..... I have comfortable mobility around the house, still limiting going up and down stairs, I can walk from my house to the ferry dock in Horseshoe Bay, the long walk to board - and back; distributing the weight of filing boxes and groceries as to how light a load is best to carry.
Your help last fall contributed to my well-being and I want to thank
N January 2013
The best part of the Surefeet program is that "...it increased my leg strength. I also enjoyed the congeniality of the group as a whole, especially of our instructors. Thank You."
Dorothy Highland United Church December 2012
The best part of the Surefeet program is "The variety of exercises, the social aspect, maintaining my mobility and being able to enjoy life! Thank you"
M.S. Highland United Church Surefeet December 2012
"For the first time this fall, the North Shore Stroke Recovery Centre offered the Surefeet Balance & Mobility Training Program. We had 15 enthusiastic stroke survivors participating twice a week for 9 weeks at North Shore Neighbouhood House. Our members loved the program thanks to the excellent leadership from Judy and Susan. It’s amazing how quickly we could see the improvements everyone was making in core strength and balance. We look forward to offering the same program again in the spring. Thank you to Judy and Susan for making a difference in people’s lives."
North Shore Stroke Recovery Program December 2012
"Surefeet, run by Judy and Susan, is amazingly beneficial for core strength and balance......The positive outlook and enthusiasm of Judy and Susan enables us to do much better than we thought we could, every class. Stroke survivors know that any progress, however small is great! Very LITTLE is very BIG for all of us and hopefully constant. Cheers to Judy and Susan who do nothing but benefit the process...Thanks so much Gals! Keep it up!"
Barbie 2 years 9 months post stroke
North Shore Stroke Recovery December 2012
The best part of the program was "The amazing teamwork and shared knowledge of our experts, Judy and Susan."
"Big thank you's for all your help in keeping me on my feet - a Fall Free- as opposed to Free Falling - would be my best Christmas gift." Janet December 2012
"Thank you for keeping me on my feet."
Jean December 2012
"I took the Surefeet course and would like to say how much I benefited from it, even though I had to miss quite a few classes due to health reasons.
Susan and Judy are such good teachers and work so well together, and they were always encouraging, while at the same time keeping us working hard to improve our balance.
Recently I proved how much better my balance has become. While walking across my living room my left knee suddenly buckled (which happens on occasion due to arthritis), but instead of falling down or falling against something as has happened in the past, this time, as we had learned and practiced in class, I was able to quickly get my right foot down and spread far enough from the left foot to prevent me from falling. Not long afterwards the same thing happened while I was walking across a parking lot. When my knee gave way I was able to plant my right foot ahead and continue walking. I really do feel more confident now about not falling, and will continue with the exercises at home."
Jean Highland United Church October 2012
"Thank you both for such an incredible rehab program and for being such incredible and inspiring women!!"
Kim October 2012
"I found the variety of exercises taught, plus relevant information by the skillful and caring instruction of Judy and Susan to be most beneficial, and lot of fun!"
Kate 76 years old
"...Since I was a teenager (a hundred years ago) and post-op physiotherapy was often painful, I have not enjoyed any formal exercises and avoided it even though I understood its' benefits. Somehow, you and Judy got around that mental block and I survived, and even gained leg strength!
If you remember, I was initially terrified with the idea of sitting on a ball, but your teaching approach helped me to overcome that and I thank you!"
"I love the music!
I love my teachers!
I love this class!!
"I am coming to the end of my sojourn in North Vancouver-spending just over 3 months visiting friends and family here. On my previous visit I decided if here for a longer time that I would look for a senior exercise program. My luck. I picked out a listing.... a programme accentuating the importance of maintaining steady feet. Most of us are now in the second semester and I am so sorry to be leaving the group to return home next week. The twice weekly classes which I attend are eagerly anticipated. Once there, we work together for one solid hour. This program is not just a matter of doing physical exercises. It is a learning experience in which we learn the rationale for new methods of walking, sitting, balancing and paticularly using muscles and procedures for movements-using body parts that we may have allowed to fall into disuse or changing movements that had become bad habits. The main objective, of course, is to prevent falls as we age.
I feel that I have gained so much from the classes and this is due to the dedicated leaders - Judy Bjornson and Susan Bock Smith. We have had fun and laughs and camaraderie which I shall miss when I return to Hamilton........
My heartfelt thanks..... for making my time so rewarding."
"...SInce I have been attending this class. I have learned some unique and practical ways to improve my balance, walking, confidence and new habits in my lifestyle. The instructors, Susan and Judy are a team superb! Upbeat encouraging and fun are their cornerstones. My conclusion is to continue in future programs so that my skills will help to keep me steady on my feet."
"Mum's walking ability has deteriorated steadily over the last few months. She is still mobile but the arthritis in her hips has her walking very, very slowly and quite bent over. There is no way she would even qualify to attend Level 1. She is still enjoying life though, with the occasional walk around her garden.
Our family would again like to thank you for all the good work you have done with Mum for the past couple of years. Your program is fantastic.
.......I just can't tell you enough how positive your program was in Mum's life!"