Put a Spring in your Step!

Aging is a part of life and one that includes many experiences, special moments with family and friends and opportunities to travel and learn new skills. But growing old can also bring about new chal­lenges including increased prevalence of chronic diseases, memory loss, an increase in slips and falls and, in many cases, social isolation.

We have all heard this so many times that it can seem tiresome; but not as tiresome as no longer having the energy to do the things you enjoy. Fatigue, joint pain and poor balance along with an increased risk of falls are just a few of the side effects of a sedentary lifestyle. All of these can be improved by exercise!

Just ask Lynn Kraemer an older adult living in Centre Wellington who connected with Jena Docking at the Upper Grand Family Health Team after a heart issue in October of 2020.  “I began my 3 month “Rehab Program” twenty-five weeks later, I am still following my program. I have come to realize that a heart healthy fitness program doesn’t just last for three months…it’s a life-time commitment…to myself! I have always loved walking, but I have now learned how to walk in a way that is more beneficial to keeping my heart healthy.”  Lynn has noticed a significant decrease in her aches and pains and getting down to play at her grandchildren’s level is not a challenge. “Thirty weeks ago, my stamina was very low, I now feel more energized all the time”.

Similar comments were echoed by a client of Sandy Turner at the Minto-Mapleton Family Health Team. Loryne Kimmie expresses that “exercise classes have helped strengthen my muscles and loosen stiff joints. I have learned better ways to move so that pain can be eliminated or at least, reduced. The staff have been very encouraging and the group setting, for me, is definitely a motivator.” Loryne completed the 8-week exercise and education program for hip and knee osteoarthritis.  She learned proper technique of 9 neuromuscular strengthening exercises to help manage her joint pain.  She continues a home-based program of these exercises 2-3 times a week to maintain her progress.

David Dougherty shared that he has been attending the VON SMART zoom class for seniors for five months now. He enjoys the options of having low, moderate and high intensity levels of classes to tailor to all fitness levels. “I am 76 and I participate in the low impact class, it suits me the best, it helps me exercise all my muscles and joints and improves my breathing”. David has noticed another benefit from exercising “being shut in due to COVID-19 restrictions, the zoom classes get me up off of the couch, I have lost 10 lbs instead of gaining 10! The instructors are very well trained and always explain what muscles the different exercises are helping.”

Engaging in activities such as strength training or a brisk walk are excellent ways to not only achieve some of the recommended 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per week, but also to improve balance, core strength and stability, which are 3 game changers for preventing falls.

Falls remain the leading cause of injury-related hospitalizations among older adults living in Canada. In fact, between 20% and 30% of older adults fall each year!

Check out the Safe Communities exercise booklet that outlines specific exercises to target balance, core strength and stability. In fact, starting June 5th the local Safe Communities Falls Prevention committee is launching an 8-week activity contest called “Put a Spring in your Step” which encourages you to start moving and record your activity for a chance to win a prize!

All you need to do is:

  1. Start moving and record your activity from June 5th to July 31st
  2. Safe Communities exercise booklets will be available around businesses in North and Centre Wellington or via email
  3. Phone or email us each week you participated in activity to be entered in the draw
  4. Draws will be made throughout the contest and for a final grand prize!
  5. Enter the draw by calling: 519-638-1000 or 1-866-466-4546 or via email sturner@mmfht.ca by telling us your name and phone number

Follow your local Seniors’ Centre for Excellence, VON and Family Health Teams (Mount Forest; Minto-Mapleton; Upper Grand) on Facebook for more information and updates on the contest.

And remember, the best way to remain healthy, strong and independent is by getting active!!

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