How to Better Use Music to Supercharge Your Older Adult Chair Exercise Programs

With Margot Glatt on November 8, 2019.

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Dance inspired chair fitness for older adults

With music at the heart and soul of every class, participants delight as they move along to easy to follow choreography — bringing exercise to life.

Classes for Older Adults

After over twenty-five years in the fitness industry, I realized that music has always been the heart and soul of all my classes. It is the inspiration for my choreography and the energy I put forth as an instructor. I created Swingin’ Fitness with older adults in mind because I knew that not only is exercise important but keeping the spirit alive is key. In my classes, participants engage in easy to follow choreography either seated or standing. I select music from all genres to enhance the entertainment value and fun factor. Very often, participants will spontaneously sing along with the musical backdrop of songs they know and love as they move to the beat. Sometimes, the entire group will be singing along in full voice.  And that, is truly magical !

Swingin’ Fitness classes are designed to provide a safe, balanced workout that can be easily adapted to the needs of each individual.



Margot’s Swingin’ Fitness classes have become so popular and well received by our residents that we now have her conducting sessions twice weekly in addition to our regular fitness classes. The residents thoroughly enjoy the easy to follow moves and the variety of upbeat tunes that Margot specifically chooses to engage them, not only in exercising, but also in singing and reminiscing. A fun time is always had by all !
— Annalle Ramos-Berry, Director of Resident Programs, Harmony Hills, Sienna Senior Living

Margot’s new Swingin’ Fitness choreography booklet and CD package contains an easy to read, and easy to follow step-by-step 30 minute chair fitness program.  

The booklet is printed in large font and colour coded for quick recognition making it ideal for referencing while teaching. The included “Best of 50’s Rock ’n’ Roll” CD contains such favourites as Rock Around The Clock, Long Tall Sally, Great Balls of Fire and ten other hits of the decade performed by the original artists. These classic tracks will provide an upbeat, joyfully nostalgic and fun backdrop for your chair fitness programs.

The choreography is ideal for our residents. An easy to follow balanced program combined with music that is motivating and fun! I love that the choreography booklet and CD can be used either together or apart.
— Danyelle Gatsos, Lifestyle Consultant, Kensington Place Sienna Senior Living, Toronto

Workshops for Activity Programmers and Fitness Instructors

Conference presenter for CanFitPro, APO (Recreational Professionals of Ontario), TRO (Therapeutic Recreation Ontario), CTRA (Canadian Therapeutic Recreation Association) and Room 217 Music Care Conference.

Swingin’ Fitness interactive workshops are ideal for exercise professionals, educators, TR and activity programmers who would like to learn how to create a safe, entertaining and balanced exercise program for their older adult participants utilizing the undeniable power of music. 

Topics include tips and techniques on how to source demographically appropriate music, song selection and sequencing, and, understanding musical phrasing and song structure analysis in relation to choreography development. 

Every Swingin’ Fitness workshop will provide participants with a new thirty minute program complete with accompanying song list specially designed for successful implementation.


Class Feedback

"Margot has been bringing her Swingin' Fitness program to our residents at Thorne Mill for over four years now. The residents love her unique musically inspired approach and enjoy her upbeat and energetic personality. The easy to follow dance style moves make her exercise classes fun for everyone!"

Lindsay Dolman, Director of Community Life, Thorne Mill on Steeles

"Swingin’ Fitness gets the Kensington Place residents dancing in their chairs. Margot brings excitement to our eleven o’clock exercise program with fun movements and great music."

Danyelle Gatsos, Social Director, Kensington Place Retirement Residence

"The Swingin' Fitness program has been a great success here at Four Elms because it combines a great exercise routine with wonderful music choices that the residents love. They forget they are exercising – they are enjoying themselves, dancing, smiling and listening to music that makes their heart and soul happy. We have a large turnout and all the residents who participate have a great time!"

Kristina Papic, Recreation Manager, Four Elms Retirement Residence

"This is a great class for ladies like me. Gives us a chance to move our old bones around. The music is fantastic, which makes it all the more fun. When I look around everyone is smiling and happy."

"When you give us a class the steps always match the music so it's easy to follow you. Doesn't feel like exercising, it's fun."

Swingin' Fitness Participants

Workshop Feedback

"Margot’s workshops are thorough and informative. She brings years of experience to the music side of fitness and brings expertise about rhythmic and stylistic integration into seated fitness programming. Her choreography is creative and fun. Margot has an easy-going style and participants will feel invigorated with Swingin’ Fitness. "

Bev Foster, Executive Director, Room 217 Foundation (Care Through Music)

"CTRA was pleased that Margot commenced our CTRA Awards and AGM ceremony in St. John's Newfoundland with her Swingin' Fitness segment.  It really energized and excited our members after a full morning of conference sessions. Thank you Margot!"

Tanea Goncalves-Forward, Executive Director, Canadian Therapeutic Recreation Association

Feedback from workshop participants:

  • "I am so looking forward to incorporating your Swingin' Fitness choreography. I have to say one of my favourite workshops. I had a blast!"

  • "I really enjoyed your Swingin' Fitness workshop. I'm all pumped up and ready to go 1+2+3+. Thanks for sharing all that you did!!

  • "Great presenter! Good knowledge, fun, interesting, interactive!"

  • "very informative"

  • "very dynamic"

  • "enjoyed the energy and enthusiasm of Margot"

  • "taught applicable techniques-taught how to pick music."

  • "stuff to take back to work to try. Enjoyed her humour"

  • "It will change how I choose to run exercise programs!"

  • "interactive and lively"

  • "I loved the info about music and timing and music selection"

  • "Good audio examples and knowledge of songs that are appropriate."

  • "Excellent Facilitator!!"

  • "Amazing Speaker!"

Swingin’ Fitness Song Favourites