Fitness instructor and personal trainer Mark Turner has been running the combined sessions at Waverley Lodge Care Home, in Lemington, near Newcastle.
After taking a course in physical activity for the elderly, he started running armchair exercise classes, but found that many care home residents did not want to get involved.
He taught himself to play guitar and ukulele and decided to try combining his playing with his exercise sessions – which proved much more effective.
He found that residents respond better and are more willing to participate, especially if the songs come from their own regions.
Working across the North East, his particular favourites are Keep Your Feet Still Geordie Hinny, Cushy Butterfield and Blaydon Races.
He also chooses songs based on the exercise. He plays I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside and Yellow Submarine when residents are doing breaststroke type movements or Michael Row Your Boat Ashore for rowing.
As a trained Pilates instructor, Mark also works on getting residents to breathe correctly during exercises.
He said: “After combining both music and exercise I had a brilliant response and the exercises were more effective.
“I found residents really respond to singing and moving along to songs that represents their own heritage.
“I love to see someone who isn’t able to mobilise get involved and start to move along to the songs.”
Irene Bolam, a resident at Waverley Lodge Care Home, said: “Mark’s very good. It’s great to be able to move and sing to songs that I love.”
Fellow resident Kenneth Sanderson said: “I borrowed Mark’s guitar but I can’t play like he does.”
Julie Booth, home manager at Waverley Lodge Care Home, said: “Mark’s exercise and music sessions have proved hugely effective for our residents.
“The combination is much more appealing to many, as they love to hear classics from their hometowns, singing along while doing their exercises.
“It has been great to see residents who struggle to mobilise getting involved and enjoying themselves.”